The Cuban Jewish Community in Solidarity with Alan Gross

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

Despite the type of government the Cuban people live under, there are those ready and willing to risk the wrath of their own government for a simple act of humanity. Such was the case of the small Cuban Jewish community. On Hanukah, leaders of Cuba’s Jewish community went to the military barracks where American political prisoner Alan Gross was held and offered him service in celebration of Hanukah. Even with permission of the Cuban government, the small Cuban Jewish community knew they were aiding in giving comfort to a person labeled an “enemy of the state.” I am firmly convinced that the Cuban Jewish community is repaying Alan Gross for trying to do something for the community just before he was imprisoned.

I am firmly convinced that the Cuban government is holding Alan Gross hostage to try and get back four Cuban spies who had been caught in the United States trying to infiltrate Cuban exile groups and were sentenced between 20 years and life imprisonment. In Cuba, the Cuban government has portrayed these four Cubans as “heroes” and is trying to use Alan Gross as leverage to try and get them back. The U.S. government will not negotiate on this. The U.S. government sees these spies very differently, and does not want to give into blackmail. On this point I agree with the U.S. government. However, I believe that the U.S. government should be exercising far, far more pressure on the Cuban government in order to get Alan Gross back.

Meanwhile, Alan Gross was described as being in “good spirits” because of the visit by the leaders of the Cuban Jewish community. Gross spoke about how he loved the Cuban people, and how he wants to return to Cuba when he is eventually released to try and help them. Considering what he has been put through, and is being put through now, I can safely say that Alan Gross is a better man than I am. I am not sure I would hold such a good opinion of anyone if I was imprisoned unjustly for so long, and I know I would never return or even talk about returning if I ever got out of prison and any country that unjustifiably imprisoned me. It says a lot about how the Cuban Jewish community and yes the Cuban people as a whole do care about this one poor man who tried to help them. I hope that Alan Gross will be a free man soon.

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