HAVANA, Cuba (WJZ) — Empty handed. Two U.S. senators who traveled to Cuba are extremely disappointed they’re returning without Maryland’s Alan Gross.

Mary Bubala has the latest.

READ MORE: COVID-19 In Maryland: Positivity Rate Below 3%, 5.3M Vaccine Doses Administered

Gross is serving out a 15-year prison sentence after being convicted of smuggling banned communications equipment into Cuba.

Alan Gross is increasingly upset with the United States and refuses to meet with U.S. diplomats in Cuba in protest over the slow progress to free him.

Now two U.S. senators who just met with him say Gross is threatening suicide, vowing not to spend another year in Cuban confinement.

The senators say they pushed the Cuban government hard to release Gross.

“I do feel we’re closer there. One, because what Alan Gross has said himself–this is going to end, one way or another,” said Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona.

READ MORE: 3 Dead In Domestic-Related Laurel Shooting, Child Hospitalized

The Cuban government says Gross can be freed in a prisoner swap. They want the release of three imprisoned Cuban intelligence agents serving lengthy federal prison sentences in the United States.

But the U.S. State Department doesn’t want that, saying Gross was an aid worker merely trying to help Cuba’s small Jewish community get online–despite Cuba’s restrictions on Internet access.

Gross has lost more than 100 pounds and is now blind in one eye. The senators say he’s desperate to come home.

“The important thing you need to know about our visit with him is he really wants to go home,” said Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico.

Gross’ wife, Judy, was forced to sell their home in Maryland because of dwindling finances.

Gross has been in a Cuban prison for five years.

MORE NEWS: DC Michelin Star Restaurant Little Pearl Temporarily Closing In Part Due To Cicada Season

Other Local News:
[display-posts category=”local” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”5″]