Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    American in Cuban prison: ‘Get me the hell out of here’

    American in Cuban prison: 'Get me the hell out of here'

    The U.S. government contractor, who was imprisoned two years ago for
    bringing communications equipment into Cuba for a U.S. government
    democracy project, called NBC's Andrea Mitchell from jail in Havana.
    By Andrea Mitchell, NBC News correspondent

    A U.S. government contractor sentenced to 15 years prison in Cuba
    contacted NBC's Andrea Mitchell on Friday, reaching out from prison in
    Havana to plead for help.

    "Get me the hell out of here," Brian Gross told Mitchell, she reported
    on NBC News with Brian Williams.

    The Maryland native, who has served two and a half years, was convicted
    of crimes against the state for bringing satellite and other
    communications equipment onto the island as part of a USAID-funded
    democracy-building program. Cuba considers such programs an attempt to
    destabilize the government.
    Gross has been pleading for parole to visit his 90-year-old mother
    before she dies of lung cancer.

    "It is no longer about Cuban-U.S. relations," Gross told Mitchell. "It's
    about my family and me."

    Gross gets one call a week, and usually he reserves that for his wife,
    Judy, but this week he called Mitchell because he wanted to get the word
    out about his plight, she reported.

    Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., was allowed to visit Gross at the prison on
    Feb. 24, and he later met with Cuban President Raul Castro to seek his

    Leahy said Castro agreed that Gross "was no spy" The Associated Press

    Gross spoke virtually no Spanish and traveled to Cuba five times under
    his own name before his arrest in December 2009, according to AP.

    But Leahy came home with little optimism for Gross' release.

    The Gross affair has chilled relations between the U.S. and Cuba,
    diminishing chances for near-term rapprochement.