December 3, 2013
MS. HARF: Go for it. Yes.
QUESTION: Mr. Gross’ fourth anniversary is today. And I’m noting some comments that were just made by the Secretary – currently engaged in some discussions on that. Is there anything that you can tell us, even an update on him? What is the Secretary talking about?
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm. Well, you are right; the Secretary did just address this. Today is the fourth anniversary of Mr. Gross’ imprisonment in Cuba. Securing Alan Gross’ immediate release remains a top priority of the United States. We use every appropriate diplomatic channel to press for Mr. Gross’ release, both publicly and privately. I think that’s what the Secretary was referring to. Obviously, there’s reasons we don’t outline all of that, private diplomatic conversations. We have urged governments as well around the world and prominent figures who travel to Cuba, including religious leaders, to press for Mr. Gross’ immediate release. Excuse me.
The U.S. Interests Section in Havana officials visit Mr. Gross monthly. The last visit took place on November 27th. There is a pending request with the Government of Cuba for permission to visit him again on December 26th. And as we’ve said, we reiterate our call on the Cuban Government to release Alan Gross immediately. And as the Secretary made very clear, it’s a top priority and we’ll continue working this diplomatically.
QUESTION: But does he mean or you mean that there is something actually new, or is this a continuing process?
MS. HARF: Well, we’ve – from the very first moment of Alan Gross’s imprisonment, we’ve called on the Government of Cuba to release him and have been working very hard to do just that. So I don’t have anything new for you. This has been a very high priority for the U.S. Government for the last four years.
QUESTION: Just on the consular visits?
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: You said that they see him once a month?
MS. HARF: Monthly.
QUESTION: But they have to ask permission each time, or is it just –
MS. HARF: That —
QUESTION: Have they ever been turned down, do you know?
MS. HARF: I don’t know. I can ask. I don’t know. Like I said, the last time they visited him was November 27th. We have a request for December 26th. I don’t know if it’s ever been turned down.
QUESTION: And Marie, his family – and I think he also – says that he has lost about 100 pounds, and it’s a difficult situation. Is the U.S. aware when the consular people visit him? Are they concerned about his welfare?
MS. HARF: I think we’ve certainly spoken to this a number of times. We’re aware of, I think, some health issues that he has. And for those and other reasons, we’ve called for his immediate release. We’ve called on the Government of Cuba to immediately release him. So we’re certainly aware of that. Again, we have consular access, but this is one of our highest priorities, and we’ll continue working to secure his release.
Tomado del sitio web del Departamento de Estados EE.UU.