In this photo provided by James L. Berenthal, jailed American Alan Gross poses for a photo during a visit by Rabbi Elie Abadie and U.S. lawyer James L. Berenthal at Finlay military hospital in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012. The Maryland-native was imprisoned in December 2009. At the time he was working as a subcontractor on a democracy-building project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. (AP Photo/James L. Berenthal)
Monday marks three years since Cuban authorities arrested American Alan Gross and accused him of spying.
Gross, who’s from the Potomac area, says he was simply bringing internet access to the small Jewish community in Cuba -- but government officials are convinced he was spying, and sentenced him to 15 years in prison.
This past weekend, a crowd gathered outside the Cuban Interests Section to hold a vigil for Gross. During the event, Gross’s wife, Judy, called for President Obama to figure out a way to negotiate her husband's freedom.
“Alan tells me he feels dumped by his own government, and left here to die in his cell," Judy Gross said. "President Obama, bring this man home.”
The Grosses filed a $60 million lawsuit last month against the U.S. government and Alan Gross' former Maryland employer, saying they didn't adequately train him or disclose risks he was undertaking by doing development work on the communist island.
They also say Gross’ health is deteriorating. He’s lost more than 100 pounds since being imprisoned, and believes he’s suffering from some form of cancer. Doctors from Cuba have said he’s OK, but Gross’s lawyers are pushing for doctors from a third-party country to be allowed to examine him.
Cuban officials have discussed releasing Gross in exchange for the release of Cuban intelligence agents who are currently in American prisons.
So far, the U.S. government has not considered that option.