Formerly Imprisoned as Spy for Aiding Cuban Jews, Alan Gross Slams Fidel Castro

Alan Gross, who was imprisoned on espionage charges for five years in Cuba while trying to assist its Jewish community, criticized leader Fidel Castro on Twitter following announcement of his death.

U.S. aid contractor Alan Gross and his wife Judy pose for a picture in Jerusalem in the spring of 2005, in this family photograph released on October 23, 2010.
Reuters, Family Photograph

Alan Gross, who was imprisoned on espionage charges for five years in Cuba while trying to assist its Jewish community, said following the death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, “History will never absolve him.”

Castro’s death at the age of 90 was announced on Friday night by his brother, Raul, Cuba’s current president.

“History will never absolve him. But perhaps now the voices of Cuba will be heard. Speak up, Cuba,” Gross tweeted shortly after Fidel Castro’s death was announced.

Alan Gross on Fidel Castro

In later tweets he called for the United States to lift its embargo on Cuba.

When he was arrested in 2009, Gross, of Potomac, Maryland, was working as a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development setting up internet access for Cuban Jews.

Gross was released in December 2014 as part of a broader exchange in which three Cubans convicted of spying were released from American prisons. The same day, President Barack Obama announced renewed ties with the communist nation.

Gross has called for improved ties between the United States and Cuba. In September, he endorsed then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, citing in part her commitment to the Obama administration’s new openness to Cuba.