Alan Gross celebrates Hanukkah in a Cuban prison
Cuban Jewish leaders meet with jailed American
A leader of Cuba's small Jewish community who visited jailed American contractor Alan Gross and even released pictures of them celebrating the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah together said Wednesday that he was in good spirits and fine health. But her account was quickly disputed by the man's wife, who said he was increasingly frail and despondent.
Adela Dworin said that she and another Jewish leader spent nearly two hours Monday with Gross at the military hospital where he is being held. They lit candles, ate potato pancakes and passed around chocolate coins to celebrate Hanukkah.
Photographs taken during the meeting show a thin Gross wearing a light-blue guayabera shirt standing between Dworin and another Cuban Jewish leader, David Prinstein. Gross has a gray beard. They are believed to be the first photos released of Gross inside the military hospital.
"His health is very good," Dworin told The Associated Press ahead of the photos' release. "He has gained some weight. He's not fat, but he's not so thin anymore."
But that account was questioned by Gross's wife, Judy, who revealed that she had traveled to Cuba to visit her husband a few weeks ago, and said she speaks to him regularly on the phone.
"He is deteriorating more and more every day," she wrote in a statement. "He told me he is feeling very hopeless ... I truly do not know how much longer he can take this ordeal."
Judy Gross said her 62-year-old husband had recently cried for the first time while they spoke on the phone together, and said if he appeared cheerful in front of Dworin it was only to "put on a brave face."