Alan Gross: Sentenced to Five Years in Cuban Prison
Ted Constant Convocation Center - Big Blue Room
President's Lecture Series; Jacobson/Wallenberg Humanitarian Speaker
Before his sudden, shocking, five-year-long imprisonment by Fidel Castro's Cuba, Alan Gross spent more than 25 years traveling the globe to administer civilian foreign aid and promote democracy on behalf of private industry, nongovernment organizations, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Gross fought poverty and oppression in more than 50 countries in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Africa.
In 2009, Gross was abruptly arrested by Cuban officials, who accused him of working for American intelligence services. He was, in fact, working on a humanitarian project to improve wireless access for small communities across Cuba, with a special emphasis on helping Cuba's small Jewish community. In March 2011, Gross was wrongfully convicted for "acts against the territorial integrity of the state," and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
During his captivity in Cuba, Gross spent 23 hours a day confined to a small jail cell, almost completely isolated from the outside world. His physical health and emotional well-being deteriorated over five long years, as he lost hope that he would ever return home alive. Gross's wife, Judy-along with Jewish, Christian and Muslim humanitarian groups worldwide-fought tirelessly for Gross's freedom.
After being unjustly imprisoned for 1,841 days, Alan Gross was released by the Cuban government on humanitarian grounds on Dec. 17, 2014.
The lecture about these experiences took place on February 23, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. in the Big Blue Room of the Ted Constant Convocation Center at Old Dominion University.
Gross, Alan, "Alan Gross: Sentenced to Five Years in Cuban Prison" (2016). President's Lecture Series. 26.