Reporting Kai Jackson
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The family of a Maryland man jailed in Cuba for spying is appealing to the pope for help.
Yet as Kai Jackson reports, WJZ has learned Alan Gross and his family are coping with personal problems that have no political solution.
Alan Gross’ family is asking Pope Benedict XVI to help free the Montgomery County resident who’s in a Cuban jail accused and convicted of spying.
“Alan was in Cuba on a humanitarian project. He is absolutely not a spy,” Alan Gross’s wife Judy Gross said.
Judy Gross spoke with WJZ on Friday. The pope will travel to Cuba in two weeks, and she says the Vactican is aware of her husband’s situation.
“We are urging Pope Benedict to talk to President Castro and urge for Alan’s humanitarian release,” she said.
Gross, who is 62, has also appealed for release to Cuban President Raul Castro.
“I have lung cancer in both lungs,” Alan Gross’ mother Evelyn Gross said.
His 90-year-old mother is suffering from inoperable lung cancer. Alan Gross wants an opportunity to see her.
And his oldest daughter, who is only 27, has recently had a bout with breast cancer.
Pictures of Alan Gross were taken in December 2011 when a humanitarian delegation went to Cuba to check on him.
“Alan is sitting in jail, kind of wasting away,” Judy Gross said. “His weight is now down to 154 pounds. He’s suffering quite a bit from arthritis.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other prominent officials have called for Alan Gross to be released. He and his family deny that he is a spy.