Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    American jailed in Cuba wants US to sign ‘non-belligerency pact’ to speed release

    American jailed in Cuba wants US to sign 'non-belligerency pact' to

    speed release

    By Michael Isikoff

    NBC News

    HAVANA, Cuba — Three years after he was in Havana, jailed

    American contractor Alan is asking the U.S. government to sign a

    "non-belligerency pact" with Cuba as a first step toward negotiating his

    release, according to a Cuba policy analyst who just visited him.

    Peter Kornbluh , right, stands with Alan Gross, in a picture taken on

    Kornbluh's iPhone by a guard during his visit to the Havana where

    Gross is being held.

    Peter Kornbluh, a Cuba specialist at the National Security Archives, a

    nonprofit research center in Washington, met with Gross for four hours

    on Wednesday at the military in Havana where the contractor is

    being held. He said Gross appeared "extremely thin" — he has lost over

    100 pounds since his arrest —and dispirited.

    "He's angry, he's frustrated, he's dejected — and he wants his own

    government to step up" and negotiate, said Kornbluh. "His message is

    that the United States and Cuba have to sit down and have a dialogue

    without preconditions. … He told me that the first meeting should result

    in a non-belligerency pact being signed between the United States and Cuba."

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    Gross' comments appear to represent a new tack in an aggressive public

    relations campaign to win his . His supporters have planned a

    candlelight vigil outside the Cuban interests section in Washington

    D.C., on Sunday and the U.S. Senate is poised to take up a resolution

    Monday demanding his release, Gross' wife, Judy, has also become

    increasingly critical of the U.S. government for not doing more to

    demand that her 63-year-old husband be allowed to return home.

    Jose Luis Magana / AP

    Judy Gross at her home in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 29.

    "He feels like a soldier in the field left to die," she said at a press

    conference in Washington last week.

    Gross, who worked for an Agency for International Development

    contractor, was arrested by the Cubans on Dec. 3, 2009, and accused of

    smuggling sophisticated satellite and other telecommunications equipment

    into the country to give to the island's tiny Jewish community. Gross

    has said he was only trying to increase access in Cuba. But he

    was convicted by a Cuban court in March of last year for crimes "against

    the independence and territorial integrity of the state" and sentenced

    to 15 years.