Alan Gross’ family says the State Department contractor jailed in Cuba
has made his goodbyes.
“During a recent visit with his wife, Judy, and his daughter, Nina,
Gross said he could not take life in prison much longer and said his
goodbyes,” Emily Black, a spokeswoman for the family said in a statement
sent Monday to reporters. “In addition, Gross is refusing to see
visitors from the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, including the new
chief of mission.”
The statement said Gross’ wife, Judy, and daughter, Nina, visited him
recently in prison, although it did not give a date. Gross, jailed in
2009, is serving a 15-year sentence for “crimes against the state” for
helping to hook up to the Internet the island’s small Jewish community
while working for the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
expressed alarm at the alert.
“We view with growing alarm the condition of Alan Gross, who has been
held for over four years in a Cuban prison,” the umbrella body said in a
“His health has been deteriorating and he has reportedly lost vision in
his right eye,” it said. “The message he sent to his family, in which he
bids them farewell, raises concern that he is giving up.”
Gross, 65, has been increasingly depressed since his mother died in
June, the statement said.
He had hoped for a humanitarian visit with her; the U.S. government had
allowed a convicted Cuban spy to attend the funeral of a relative on the
island on condition that he return to serve out his parole, which he did.
Gross’ family has hinted that the Obama administration should more
seriously engage with the Cuban government regarding its offer to
exchange Gross for three Cuban spies in jail.
Meanwhile, 300 rabbis of all denominations wrote President Obama urging
him to “secure the immediate release” of Gross.
“Alan went to Cuba on behalf of our government,” said the Aug. 1 letter.
“His immediate release from prison in Cuba and return to the U.S. must
be a priority for our nation. Indeed, we believe this is a moral
Source: Is Alan Gross Near Death in Cuba Prison? – Forward.com –