Refuses to Receive Most Visitors in Cuba
Wilfredo Cancio Isla (Café Fuerte)
HAVANA TIMES — Alan Gross, the US citizen sentenced to 15 years in prison in Cuba, has lost the use of his right eye and refuses to receive most visitors owing to a profound state of depression.
“Alan’s situation is grave,” said attorney Scott Gilbert in his statements to CafeFuerte. “The governments of the United States and Cuba have to resolve this situation very soon or Alan will die in prison.”
Gilbert explained that 65-year-old Gross has already lost sight out of his right eye and that his hips have deteriorated to such an extent that he has been unable to do any type of exercise in the past two months.
“He has suffered a lot recently thinking about his mother’s death, having been unable to see her before her death or be with his family in this time of grief,” said Gilbert. “Because of his emotional state, he has refused to receive most visitors.”
Evelyn Gross died of cancer at 92 this past June 18 in Texas. Despite the family’s petitions to Raul Castro’s government, asking that Gross be permitted to attend the funeral, Cuban authorities turned down the request.
On April 2, Alan Gross began a hunger strike which he interrupted 11 days later at the request of his aged mother. The aim of the hunger strike was to protest over the lack of a solution to his case.
At the close of June, Gilbert and Judy Gross, Gross’ wife, visited him in his cell at the Carlos J. Finlay Military Hospital in Havana, where the prisoner is currently confined. During the visit, Gross’ family revealed that the US contractor had lost all hopes of returning to his country and was planning on ending his life.
Gilbert affirms that the situation has worsened and lays the blame for the tragic unfolding of the case on both Havana and Washington.
The Cuban government claims it is willing to find a “humanitarian” solution to the case, but only by negotiating the exchange of Gross for the three Cuban agents currently imprisoned in the United States [since 1998]. Washington has turned down this offer, alleging that the cases are entirely different.
Negotiating with Raul Castro
Recently, there was news that businesspeople Elon Musk and Shervin Pishevar, two magnates of the world of new technologies and faithful supporters of President Barack Obama, had accompanied actor Sean Penn to Havana at the beginning of last year to negotiate the release of Gross with the high spheres of government, to no avail.
Gilbert said he had no knowledge of that negotiation or its outcome.
The Gross case has become the bone of contention between Cuba and the United States, making it impossible for the Obama administration to make further progress in terms of bilateral relations with the island.
The December 3 will mark five years since Gross’ arrest in Cuba. He was detained in a hotel in Havana on the eve of his return to the United States, after delivering Internet communication technology to members of the island’s Jewish community.
A Cuban court tried and convicted Gross in March of 2010 on charges of undermining national security.