Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    Bill Nelson to Pope: Ask Castros to free Alan Gross

    Bill Nelson to Pope: Ask Castros to free Alan Gross

    Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., has asked Pope Benedict XVI to intercede in
    the case of Alan Gross, the U.S. contracter who's been imprisoned in
    Cuba for more than two years.

    Nelson wrote the pope Wednesday in advance of the papal visit to Cuba
    later this month. The pope is scheduled to meet with Cuban President
    Raul Castro, and Nelson asked the pope to intercede with the Cuban

    "These are especially challenging political and economic times; and, it
    is my hope that you might be able to bring about a compassionate
    resolution in this case," Nelson wrote.

    Last month, one of the Cuba's best-known political dissidents told
    Congress that the pope should use his power and visibility as a world
    leader to shine a light on human rights abuses and political oppression
    under the Castro regime during his upcoming visit to the communist
    island nation.

    Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet told the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee in
    testimony delivered over the telephone from Cuba that if he has an
    opportunity to meet with the pope, he will ask him to be an advocate for
    the oppressed,

    Gross has served two years of a 15-year sentence on a charge of
    endangering the island's national security by delivering sophisticated
    telecommunications equipment to Cuban Jews so they could access the
    Internet more easily. The Obama administration has repeatedly urged Cuba
    to free Gross as a humanitarian gesture. Cuba has said it wants a
    similar U.S. gesture toward five Cuban spies convicted in Miami as part
    of the "Wasp Network."