Reporting Vic Carter
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — A Maryland family is caught up in an international nightmare. Convicted of spying, Alan Gross sits in a Cuban prison while his wife tries desperately to bring him home.
Vic Carter recently spoke with her about how she’s holding up and what this has done to her family.
Two years, five months, six days. Baltimore native Alan Gross is wasting away behind bars in a Cuban prison.
“To see him getting more depressed, weaker, it’s a very helpless feeling,” Alan Gross’ wife Judy Gross said.
In a rare personal interview with WJZ, Judy Gross shares her deepest fears. She admits she worries whether her 63-year-old husband will ever come home to his loving family.
Judy Gross: “Do I think I’ll ever see him again on U.S. soil? Sometimes, I really doubt it.”
Carter: “Are you worried about his health deteriorating?”
Judy Gross: “Absolutely. Absolutely.”
Carter: “So you’re worried he might die there?”
Judy Gross: “Yeah, I think about it a lot.”
Alan Gross still has 12 years left on his sentence. He’s always insisted he went to Cuba to improve Internet access for the small Jewish community there.
Carter: “In your opinion, did Alan ever break the law while he was there?”
Judy Gross: “We know now that he did break Cuban law. He did not know that until he got to Cuba and was arrested.
Since Alan Gross’ arrest more than two years ago, the world’s most powerful leaders have been pushing for his release. But Cuba hasn’t budged.
Carter: “Is there anything more that can be done to help secure his release?”
Judy Gross: “I think my hope right now is just that they’ll allow him to come home to visit his mother.”
Alan Gross’ 90-year-old mother is dying of lung cancer. His family is begging the Cuban government for a humanitarian release.
“She cries everyday that I talk to her that she’s not going to see her son. It’s inhumane,” Judy Gross said.
The Cuban government has allowed Judy Gross to visit Alan Gross in prison. Making plans for another trip, plus weekly phone calls and letters keep her going.
“That’s what’s so ironic about it. I talk to him and it feels like he’s right there and then I have to remember, ‘No, he’s pretty far away,’” she said.
To keep Alan Gross close, she re-reads his letters, like one particular emotional Thanksgiving note to his daughters.
“In all honesty, I cannot remember the last time we were all together,” the letter said. “So despite all of our circumstances and distant locations, at least this year I can write, say to you that we still have so much to be thankful for. We still have each other.”
Gross promises to return to Cuba to finish his sentence if he’s allowed to visit his mother.