Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    U.S. group meets American contractor in Cuba jail

    U.S. group meets American contractor in Cuba jail
    | Thu Jun 9, 2011 5:51pm EDT

    (Reuters) – Jailed U.S. contractor , serving a 15-year
    sentence for crimes against the Cuban state, is in good spirits, but is
    anxious to go home, a member of a U.S. delegation said after visiting
    him on Thursday.

    Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile said the group met with
    for two hours at a Havana to find out how he is being
    treated and to deliver a letter from his Washington area synagogue.

    "He has been incarcerated for 18 months and he's in good spirits, but he
    wants to come home. He's not bitter, but he asked us to make sure we not
    forget him," Brazile said before entering the Havana for a
    flight to the .

    She was part of a group including former Representative Jane Harman that
    was brought to Cuba by the Washington-based Center for Democracy in the
    Americas, which advocates better U.S.-Cuba relations.

    Gross, 62, has been jailed since December 3, 2009 when he was
    for distributing equipment under a secretive U.S. program
    promoting political change in communist-run Cuba.

    He was convicted in March of "acts against the independence and
    territorial integrity of the state" and sentenced to 15 years in jail,
    but is awaiting the outcome of an appeal to Cuba's highest court.

    The case brought to a halt a brief warming in U.S.-Cuba relations under
    President Barack Obama, who eased the long-standing U.S. trade
    against Cuba and initiated talks on immigration and postal service issues.

    The U.S. government has said Gross was helping Jewish groups get
    Internet access and committed no crime.

    Brazile said Gross has not been forgotten by the Obama administration
    and "is a topic of high level conversation not only within the
    government, but with other third parties."

    Former President Jimmy Carter visited Gross in March and called for his
    release, saying he did not believe Gross had committed a serious crime.

    Carter also said the United States should release five Cuban agents who
    have been jailed in U.S. prisons since 1998 and who Cuba feels were
    wrongly convicted of espionage-related charges.

    Gross' wife, Judy Gross, has asked the Cuban government to release him
    because both their daughter and his mother have cancer.

    (Reporting by Jeff Franks; Editing by Vicki Allen)