POTOMAC, Md. (WJZ) — It’s been five years since a Maryland man was arrested in Havana, Cuba for expanding Internet access to a small Jewish community.
Alex Demetrick reports on why his wife says her husband can’t last much longer
Alan Gross, a USAID subcontractor who lived in Potomac, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for crimes against the Cuban state.
“December 3, 2009 is the day my family’s world began to fall apart,” Alan Gross’ wife, Judy, said.
Three years into his 15-year prison sentence, Gross’ health has declined. He’s lost more than 100 pounds, can barely walk due to chronic pain, has lost five teeth and most of the sight in his right eye.
“He looks like a concentration camp victim,” Judy said. “He’s bony, his ribs are sticking out.”
The most recent photo doesn’t show improvement. Neither do his odds of being released.
But, there are people who still have hope. There have been protests, petitions and lawsuits.
“Let Alan Gross go,” Maryland Senator, Barbara Milkulski said.
Gross remains behind bars and on Wednesday’s fifth anniversary, his wife issued a desperate statement:
“Enough is enough. My husband has paid a terrible price for serving his country and community,” Judy Gross said. ” Alan is resolved that he will not endure another year imprisoned in Cuba, and I am afraid that we are at the end. After five years of literally wasting away, Alan is done. It is time for President Obama to bring Alan back to the United States now; otherwise it will be too late.”
In July, Gross said goodbye to his wife and daughter and had refused to see them again while in prison. He’s refused other visitors, too, including the new chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, which represents the U.S. government there.
Maryland congressman Chris Van Hollen issued the following statement:
“Five years ago today, Alan Gross was arrested in Cuba for trying to help the country’s small Jewish community establish an Intranet and improve its access to the Internet on behalf of USAID. And for five years, Alan and his family have paid an enormous personal price. We are doing everything we can to fight to secure his release. I’ve personally urged President Obama to make Alan’s release from Cuban prison a top priority. I also raised the issue directly with Cuban President Castro when I visited Alan last year. Every day that he sits in prison in Havana is another day of injustice for Alan Gross and another day that Cuba is missing an important opportunity to begin to reshape its relations with the United States.”
The Obama administration said in a statement released Wednesday that they are deeply concerned about Alan Gross’ health and is urging Cuba to release him.
Other Local News:
[display-posts category=”local” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”5″]