The wife of Alan Gross, an American serving a 15-year sentence in a Cuban prison, has urged President Barack Obama to take action to bring her husband home before it is “too late.” The U.S. government subcontractor still has 10 years to go, as Wednesday marked his fifth year in confinement. His wife, Judy Gross, has said she doesn’t believe the ailing 65-year-old can last another year because of his declining health, Reuters reported.
"Alan is resolved that he will not endure another year imprisoned in Cuba, and I am afraid that we are at the end," Judy Gross said in a statement released Wednesday, according to CNN. She said her husband has lost nearly 100 pounds, has gone almost blind in one eye and has significant trouble walking. "I am afraid that we are at the end. After five years of literally wasting away, Alan is done," she said. She added that “it is time for President Obama to bring Alan back to the United States now.”
Alan Gross was arrested in December 2009 while working as a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development. He posed as a tourist while actually fulfilling a $600,000 contract to smuggle banned Internet communications equipment into the single-party state in an effort to promote democracy.
The U.S. government has repeatedly called on Cuba to release Alan Gross, who was supposedly unaware that what he was doing was illegal. The Cuban government has said Alan Gross’ freedom is contingent on the U.S. arranging a prisoner swap for three Cuban intelligence agents currently serving prison sentences in the U.S., according to Reuters. Obama has the power to negotiate a swap, however, the White House has not yet indicated whether those negotiations will take place.
"It is gravely disappointing, especially in light of its professed goal of providing Cubans with Internet access, that the Cuban government has not allowed Mr. Gross to return to his family, where he belongs," the State Department said in a statement Tuesday. "We reiterate our call on the Cuban government, echoing foreign leaders and even Cuba's allies, to release Alan Gross immediately."