Release of Alan Gross Marks Turning Point in U.S.-Cuba Relations

Contact: Max Rosenblum or Claire Shimberg
202.387.2800 |

Washington, D.C., December 17, 2014 — In response to Cuba's release of American Alan Gross and President Obama's announcement of renewed U.S.-Cuban diplomatic relations, Rachel Laser, Deputy Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

We celebrate today's release of Alan Gross after five years imprisonment in Cuba, a development made even sweeter coming on the first day of Hanukkah. For Alan's family and friends, this is truly the most miraculous of days. The American Jewish community, including the Reform Movement, and others around the world, have stood with the Gross family and we share in their happiness today.

The news of Alan Gross's release comes as the U.S. also announced that it will re-establish an embassy in Cuba and ease some travel and economic restrictions. President Obama also called for "honest and serious debate" about lifting the longstanding U.S. embargo on Cuba. We welcome that call. The embargo has long been a point of friction between the United States and allies in Europe, South America and Canada. Even as we remain deeply concerned by the Castro regime's deplorable human rights record, after more than 50 years, the United States has little to show for maintaining the embargo.

We look forward to the days ahead as Alan Gross is reunited with his family and begins to recover his health. In this season of renewal, we rededicate ourselves to supporting the U.S. and Cuba as they continue to find a path toward renewed relations to the benefit of people in both nations.