Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    Cuba Poised To Make Statement on Fate of Alan Gross

    Cuba Poised To Make Statement on Fate of Alan

    Rabbi Pronounces Jailed American in Good : Report

    By Paul Berger

    Published November 27, 2012.

    Cuban officials are poised to make an important "announcement" this

    morning about the plight of Alan Gross, a Jewish contractor held in a

    Cuban jail for almost three years.

    Media have been told to expect an announcement around 9 a.m., the

    officials said.

    The alert came hours after a New York rabbi visited Gross at a military

    in Havana and told the Associated Press that he appeared to be

    in relatively good health.

    Rabbi Elie Abadie, who is also a gastroenterologist, told the AP that he

    met with Gross for 2-1/2 hours and also received a lengthy briefing from

    a team of Cuban physicians.

    Abadie said a growth on Gross's shoulder appeared to be non-cancerous

    and it does not pose a serious health risk.

    "Alan Gross does not have any cancerous growth at this time, at least

    based on the studies I was shown and based on the examination, and I

    think he understands that also," Abadie told the AP.

    The flurry of activity came amid speculation that Cuba may hope to use

    Gross's possible release to improve relations with the U.S., especially

    after the reelection of President Obama, who in the past has called for

    an end to the 50-year-old of the island nation.

    Cuba expert Jaime Suchlicki, of Miami , published an article

    in the Miami Herald hinting that Cuba is considering a pardon for Gross.

    Suchlicki, director of the university's Institute for Cuban and

    Cuban-American Studies, told the Forward that his source is a former

    Cuban intelligence official living in Miami.

    An ardent critic of the Castro regime, Suchlicki said he hoped that the

    Obama Administration would make no concessions if Gross was freed.

    Cuban officials said they did not know if such a pardon has even been

    granted.

    Alan's wife, Judy Gross, did not return a call for comment.

    The developments follow several weeks of intense pressure on the Cuban

    and American governments to resolve Gross's case.

    Gross was in Havana, in December 2009, while working as an

    independent subcontractor for the United States Agency for International

    Development. He claimed to have been trying to help improve

    access for the island's Jewish community, but he was accused of working

    to subvert the Cuban government.

    When Gross was arrested, he was found in possession of high-tech

    satellite equipment commonly used by the Defense Department.

    In recent weeks, Gross's wife Judy and a lawyer, Jared

    Genser, have embarked on a campaign to draw greater attention to the

    case and to increase pressure on the Cuban regime. Gross' supporters saw

    the time as ripe, coming soon after Barack Obama's re-election to a

    second term.

    The Gross campaign strategy included reporting Cuba to the United

    Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture claiming that an insufficient

    amount of medical attention was being given to Alan and that it

    constituted torture. Gross's health has deteriorated rapidly since he

    was jailed. He has lost more than 100 pounds and he has developed a mass

    on his shoulder, which Cuba insists is not life-threatening but that his

    family says could be cancerous.

    On November 16, Alan and Judy Gross filed a lawsuit against the U.S.

    government and Development Alternatives Inc, the contractor that sent

    Gross to Cuba, claiming that they failed to adequately him or warn

    him of the risks of working in Cuba.

    Contact Paul Berger at berger@forward.com or on Twitter @pdberger

    http://forward.com/articles/166819/cuba-poised-to-make-statement-on-fate-of-alan-gros/