Alan Gross: Sentenced to Five Years in Cuban Prison


Alan Gross

Document Type

Metadata Only




Ted Constant Convocation Center - Big Blue Room

Lecture Series

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.

Media Type



A DVD of this lecture is available in the Special Collections & University Archives Department of Old Dominion University Perry Library. Call #: LD4331.A57 2016b

This document is currently not available here.