American aid worker held hostage in Cuba by Castro regime begins hunger strike
Alan Gross has begun a hunger strike to protest not only the Castro dictatorship that has taken him hostage and is holding him for ransom, but to protest the U.S. as well for not paying that ransom.
Good luck with that...
American prisoner in Cuba starts hunger strike
MIAMI — An American contractor who has been held in a Cuban prison for over four years started a hunger strike to protest what he described as the inaction of both the U.S. and Cuban governments to secure his release.
Alan Gross, who was arrested by Cuban authorities in 2009 for importing and distributing communications equipment for the Jewish community there, started the hunger strike on Thursday. His attorney said he decided to take the extreme measure after the Associated Press reported on a secret program run by the U.S. government to facilitate cellphone communication between Cubans on the island.
Gross was arrested while acting on a contract from the U.S. Agency for International Development to improve communication on the island, where Internet use is heavily restricted by the Cuban government. The program uncovered by the AP, dubbed the "Cuban Twitter" by officials who ran it from 2009 to 2012, was also run by USAID and initiated after Gross was imprisoned.
Gross, who estimates he has lost more than 110 pounds since he was imprisoned, said in a statement that he was frustrated by the continued lack of effort by the U.S. government to orchestrate his release.
"I am fasting to object to mistruths, deceptions, and inaction by both governments, not only regarding their shared responsibility for my arbitrary detention, but also because of the lack of any reasonable or valid effort to resolve this shameful ordeal," Gross said in a statement released by his attorney. "Once again, I am calling on President Obama to get personally involved in ending this stand-off so that I can return home to my wife and daughters."
Gross' attorney, Scott Gilbert, said he had not spoken directly with Gross since he started the hunger strike on Thursday but received a message at his office. Gilbert, who expects to speak with Gross this week, said he doesn't know whether the Cuban prison officials will force-feed him, a common practice when prisoners go on hunger strikes.
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