Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    Alleged spy Gross felt abandoned by US in Cuba

    Alleged spy Gross felt abandoned by US in Cuba

    Washington (AFP) – US contractor Alan Gross says he was mistreated by
    his captors and felt abandoned by his own government after Cuba arrested
    him and accused him of spying.

    In his first major interview since his release last year, Gross said
    exercise, family memories and humor kept him going though his five-year
    ordeal.

    “They threatened to hang me. They threatened to pull out my fingernails.
    They said I’d never see the light of day,” the 66-year-old told CBS
    television’s 60 Minutes.

    “I had to do three things in order to survive, three things every day,”
    he said, in an extract from a longer interview to be broadcast in full
    on Sunday.

    “I thought about my family that survived the Holocaust. I exercised
    religiously every day and I found something every day to laugh at.”

    Gross was contracted by the US Agency for International Development to
    deliver electronics to Jewish groups when he was arrested in Havana in
    December 2009.

    Initially accused of espionage, he was tried in 2011 and sentenced to 15
    years for committing “acts against the independence and territorial
    integrity” of Cuba.

    Asked whether he had thought that the US government would find a way to
    get him out, he said: “Oh, I absolutely did for the first two weeks.

    “And then I said to myself, ‘Where the hell are they? Where are they?’ I
    didn’t have any idea I’d be there for five years,” he told CBS.

    The US government has always insisted Gross was not an intelligence
    agent but a development worker trying to connect Cuban communities to
    the outside world.

    A specialist in satellite communications, he had previously done such
    work in around 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

    He had visited Cuba four times before to his arrest, delivering computer
    and satellite gear to the communist island’s small Jewish community.

    On his fifth journey he was allegedly in possession of an electronic
    chip that prevents governments from tracking the location of satellite
    telephone calls.

    Gross returned to the United States in December last year after he was
    released as part of a historic warming of ties between the former Cold
    War foes.

    Source: Alleged spy Gross felt abandoned by US in Cuba – Yahoo News –
    news.yahoo.com/alleged-spy-gross-felt-abandoned-us-cuba-145610278.html;_ylt=AwrC1CrzclhWOB8AczXQtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTBybGY3bmpvBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMyBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg–