Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    Cuba Prisoner Gross Feels Abandoned by U.S., Wife Says

    Cuba Prisoner Gross Feels Abandoned by U.S., Wife Says
    By Nicole Gaouette Aug 5, 2014 6:00 AM GMT+0200

    Alan Gross, the U.S. Agency for International Development subcontractor
    jailed by Cuba for almost five years, is refusing to see U.S. government
    officials, and his wife says he’s lost the will to live.

    “He sees no use in them coming anymore,” Judy Gross said yesterday in an
    interview. “They were able to bring him packages that I sent to him, but
    other than that it hasn’t improved or gotten him closer to getting home.”

    “He’s just hopeless and needless to say, very, very disappointed in the
    United States government,” she said.

    Gross, 65, was working to expand Internet access for Havana’s Jewish
    community when Cuban officials arrested him. He was accused of
    undermining the Cuban state and in December 2009 was sentenced to 15
    years in prison.

    In a mid-July visit, when Judy Gross and their 27-year-old daughter came
    to see him, he told them he didn’t want them to come again, and that he
    no longer needed the packages sent to him via the U.S. Interests Section
    in Havana. Gross has refused to meet the new head of that office or
    other officials.

    “He feels they should do whatever it takes to get him home,” she said. “
    He was there on a U.S. project, but he feels like they’re doing nothing,
    he hasn’t seen any evidence.”

    Asked about Gross yesterday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said
    that the U.S. “keeps his case at the forefront of discussions with the
    Cuban government, made clear the importance the United States places on
    his welfare.”

    Advocating Release

    “We engage also with a range of our foreign counterparts at the highest
    levels and urge them to advocate for his release,” Psaki said. “We
    urgently reiterate our call to the Cuban government to release him
    immediately.”

    Judy Gross said, “The answer is always, ‘We’re doing as much as we can,
    and it’s at the top of our list.’ I’m not sure why they won’t tell me
    what they’re doing. It makes me suspect that perhaps they’re not doing
    as much as we would hope.”

    She cited the release of Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier taken hostage
    for five years in Afghanistan and freed in a May prisoner exchange for
    five Taliban prisoners. “That had to be really complicated,” Judy Gross
    said. “If they could do that with five Taliban, with Afghanistan who we
    really have problems with,” she asked why the U.S. can’t do more for her
    husband.

    Cuban Spies

    Groups have pushed the Obama administration to exchange Gross for three
    activists from the ‘Cuban Five,’ spies who were jailed in 1998 for
    infiltrating groups in Miami that had been planning terrorist actions
    against the Cuban government. Two have been released on parole, and Cuba
    has demanded the release of the remaining three. Cuban-American U.S.
    lawmakers oppose any negotiations with Cuba.

    “If President Obama wanted to, he could have Alan home tomorrow,” Judy
    Gross said. “Maybe it’s not a priority with them, maybe they’re worried
    about lawmakers who really have a problem with Cuba,” she said.

    Her husband had been an early believer in President Barack Obama, she
    said. During Obama’s first presidential campaign, Gross took five weeks
    off to work on his campaign in a part of Virginia that voted Democratic
    for the first time. “That’s irony,” she said.

    Gross’s lawyer, Scott Gilbert, said yesterday that his client is
    confined to a small cell 24 hours a day. “He’s lost most of the vision
    in his right eye,” Gilbert said in a statement. “His hips are failing
    and he can barely walk. He has stopped all attempts to exercise. Alan’s
    emotional deterioration has been severe,” Gilbert said.

    “Alan has had enough of life in a Cuban prison,” said family spokeswoman
    Jill Zuckman, a managing director of SKDKnickerbocker, a
    strategic-communications firm in Washington. “Alan just wants this whole
    ordeal to be over, even if it means taking his own life.”

    Source: Cuba Prisoner Gross Feels Abandoned by U.S., Wife Says –
    Bloomberg –
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-05/cuba-prisoner-gross-feels-abandoned-by-u-s-wife-says.html