HAVANA TIMES — US agent Alan Gross, 63, is getting desperate in a Cuban jail where he is serving the third year of a 15-year sentence for endangering the island’s national security.
Gross, who was arrested when working for US-AID contractor Development Alternatives Inc., wants to be released in order to see his ailing 90-year-old mother who is dying from lung cancer, reported CNN on Saturday.
In a telephone conversation with the TV network, Gross said “I feel like a hostage” noting his lawyer had asked for permission to return to the US on humanitarian grounds.
“My lawyer and I have written for permission to visit her,” Gross said. “I would return to Cuba if they let me visit my mother before she dies.”
But the chance of Gross returning to his island jail if granted permission to go to the US is not considered very likely.
When he was sentenced back in March 2011, the Cuban court said that in his numerous trips to Cuba, Gross had created secret networks to provide access to the Internet to help opposition groups organize against the government of Raul Castro, noted dpa news agency.
Despite the admission that Gross worked undercover in a program that promotes regime change in Cuba, the US government says he was not a spy and was just trying to help out Jewish groups on the island.
Ever since Gross was arrested, tried and sentenced, analysts have put his case on the table with that of the Cuban Five, sentenced for spying in the US after they infiltrated Miami based organizations with a history of terrorist acts against Cuba and its interests abroad.
While the US State Department has repeatedly denied that any negotiation for a prisoner swap was being considered, Cuba has hinted that it would consider such a move, leaving the ball and the fate of Gross in Washington’s court.
Meanwhile, in a rekindling of terrorist activity in South Florida, on April 29th the Airline Brokers travel agency, which features legal travel to Cuba for Cuban-Americans and authorized groups of other US citizens, was fire-bombed at their Coral Gables offices.