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Momentum Builds To Free Md. Man From Cuban Prison

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Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Three years in a Cuban prison cell, and there’s new momentum to find the key to unlock it and free Alan Gross. He’s the Maryland man who was seized while on a development mission to Cuba.

Alex DeMetrick has more on why timing may be behind the increasing calls for Gross’ release.

In Cuba, modernization is relative. Montgomery County resident Alan Gross was employed to bring satellite phones to connect a small Jewish community with the Internet.

That was three years ago.

He’s been in prison ever since, charged with crimes against the state.

On the CBS Morning Show, his wife Judy Gross says they do talk once a week by phone.

“Giving him hope that yes, we’re working as hard as we can, and telling him what senators and whatever has been involved,” she said.

“He should be released. Period. The end.  He should be released because he should never have been detained,” said Sen. Ben Cardin.

But the Castro government says five of its spies held in the United States must be released first.

“The United States government keeps refusing to sit down with the Cuban government to achieve a solution to this case,” a Cuban spokeswoman said when asked about that on CBS.

“They’re totally different cases.  Cuba has to release Alan Gross,” Cardin said.

“That doesn’t mean they still can’t sit down and try to talk, again and again, until they reach something,” Judy Gross said.

What might break the stalemate is the end of the presidential campaign.

President Barack Obama carried Florida’s Cuban-American vote, and Maryland’s senators sense an opening for negotiations.

They want the White House to take it.

“The administration has been visited by us to make it clear this needs to be a high priority.  We’ve got to get Alan Gross back,” Cardin said.

The five Cubans were arrested in the United States in 1998. The Castro government admits they were spying but refers to them as heroes.

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