Alan and Judy Gross (AP/GROSS FAMILY)
ROCKVILLE, Md. (WUSA9) -- Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen released a statement on Thursday about his visit to Cuba with Senator Patrick Leahy to meet imprisoned American Alan Gross. Here is his statement on the congressional delegation trip:
"I was pleased to have the opportunity to join Senator Leahy in meeting with Alan Gross as part of my trip to Cuba. We discussed a wide range of issues, and I assured him we were doing everything possible to secure his immediate release. I indicated to President Raul Castro that the release of Mr. Gross is essential if we are to going to improve the relationship between the United States and Cuba - something I believe is in the interest of both of our countries."
Gross, who is from Potomac, Md., was arrested in Cuba in December 2009 while on a USAID-funded democracy building program. Cuban leaders claimed Gross was working for U.S. intelligence agencies. Gross' supporters say he was in Cuba as a U.S. government contractor to bring cell phones and computers to the Cuban Jewish community.
Gross was sentenced to 15 years in jail for crimes against the state.