Society

American Alan Gross Imprisoned in Cuba Since 2009, Begs Obama for Help

| by Courtney Nunes

An American contractor who has been imprisoned in Cuba since 2009 is now begging President Obama for help.

Alan Gross, 64, a former subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development, has spent the last four years in a small military prison in Cuba.

Now, Gross fears the U.S. government has abandoned him, and even wrote a letter pleading for President Obama’s help.

“With the utmost respect, Mr. President, I fear that my government — the very government I was serving when I began this nightmare — has abandoned me,” wrote Gross, according to CNN. “Officials in your administration have expressed sympathy and called for my unconditional release, and I very much appreciate that. But it has not brought me home.”

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Gross (pictured) was arrested on Dec. 3, 2009, for illegally smuggling satellite communication equipment and distributing it to Cuba’s Jewish community, according to NBC News. Gross reportedly claims that he was only attempting to increase Internet access in Cuba.

After a brief trial in 2011, Gross was sentenced to 15 years for crimes “against the independence and territorial integrity of the state,” and has remained in a Cuban prison cell ever since.

His wife, Judy Gross, told CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” that she is frustrated with the government’s empty promises to release her husband.

“It’s emotional,” she said Tuesday. “… It causes me a lot of anger. I have to say right now I’m angry at the U.S. government. I’m angry at the Cuban government. I’m totally frustrated for this lack of action, that Alan is still in the same situation that he was four years ago.”

According to NBC News, Cuban government officials have said they are willing to negotiate Gross’ release under the condition that the U.S. government release four Cubans convicted of spying who are now being held in U.S. prisons.

Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that Gross’s imprisonment is currently under discussion.

“We will do everything we can and will continue to, but these things are often best resolved in quiet diplomacy, under the radar screen, behind the scenes, and that is exactly what we have been pursuing,” Kerry told CNN.

Sources: CNN, NBC News