Clinton appeals for US Jew held in Cuba

By GIL STERN STERN SHEFLER
July 15, 2010 08:11

US Secretary of State called on Jewish organizations to assist in securing the release of a Jewish government contractor.

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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

hillary clinton 311. (photo credit: AP)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Jewish organizations Tuesday to assist in securing the release of a Jewish-American government contractor who has been held in Cuba for seven months without charge.

Alan P. Gross, a USAID government contractor, was arrested on suspicion of espionage by Cuban authorities while he was on the Caribbean island helping to set up a communications center for the local Jewish community.

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Clinton, who was speaking at a dinner honoring Hannah Rosenthal, the Obama administration’s special envoy to monitor and combat anti- Semitism, raised the issue at the behest of his family. “Alan was providing information and technology that would assist this community to be better connected,” Clinton was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. “But I am really making an appeal to the active Jewish community here in our country to join this cause.”

Dina Siegel-Vann, director of the Latino and Latin American Institute of the American Jewish Committee, told The Jerusalem Post in response to Clinton’s call that her organization will continue in its efforts to bring about the release of Gross.

“We’ve been involved from the beginning,” she said.

“There’s an impasse and I guess that’s why the Jewish community was asked to get involved.”

Siegel-Vann said AJC would use its contacts with the Spanish and Latin American governments to apply pressure on Cuba to free Gross but that at the moment little progress had been made.


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