The ruling by a Cuban court sentencing an American contractor to 15 years in prison on charges that his work there in a democracy promotion program was subversive is the latest injustice against Alan Gross.
Imprisoned for more than a year and only recently formally accused of wrong-doing, Mr. Gross has suffered long enough. The United States calls on the Cuban government to immediately and unconditionally release him so he may return to his family.
Mr. Gross, 61-years old, works for an American company that was a subcontractor for a program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. He is a dedicated international development specialist who has devoted his life to helping people in more than 50 countries. In Cuba, he worked to strengthen civil society organizations and improve the flow of information to and from the island. Mr. Gross was particularly engaged with helping members of the island's Jewish communities seeking to communicate with other members of their faith around the world. Even Cuban President Raul Castro has recognized the need for the Cuban people to become more connected through technology, when in 2008 he took steps to liberalize government policies on goods and services, allowing the private ownership of cell phones and personal computers.
Mr. Gross is in ill health and in no way deserves the punishment now meted against him. His continued detention is a major impediment to advancing the dialogue between our two nations.