Durbin Statement On The Release Of Alan Gross, Normalization Of Relations With Cuba

[JOINT BASE ANDREWS] –U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement while en route to welcome home Alan Phillip Gross, an American aid worker imprisoned by the Castro regime in Cuba, and regarding President Barack Obama’s announcement on the normalization of trade and travel relations with the Republic of Cuba:

I’m overjoyed to welcome Alan Gross home after five long years in a Cuban prison. Alan’s supposed crime was that he provided Cuba’s small Jewish community with computer equipment to help them access the internet. I have pressed the Cuban government for years to release him. I and my staff visited him in prison in 2012 and again earlier this year.

Opening the door with Cuba for trade, travel, and the exchange of ideas will create a force for positive change in Cuba that more than 50 years of our current policy of exclusion could not achieve.

In 2012, Durbin met with Alan Gross during his imprisonment in Cuba. A photo of their meeting is attached. Durbin also met repeatedly with Alan’s family while he was in captivity.