So do a few million Cubans on the island…
Alan Gross, American jailed in Cuba, wants next birthday to be last in cell
(CNN) — When Alan Gross reaches his 65th birthday next month, he will tell himself that it will be the last one he spends in a Cuban prison cell, Gross’ attorney said Wednesday.
“His hunger strike took a toll on him,” Gross’ attorney Scott Gilbert told CNN during a trip to Havana to visit his client. “He told me yesterday that his birthday that he marks on May 2 would be the last birthday that he marks in Havana.”
Gross is serving a 15-year sentence for bringing satellite communications equipment to Cuba as part of his work as a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development. He was convicted in March 2011.
U.S. officials said Gross was merely trying to help Cubans bypass the island’s stringent restrictions on Internet access.
But Cuban authorities say Gross was part of a plot to create “a Cuban spring” and destabilize the island’s single-party communist government.
“He was sent to Cuba five times on a government mission and on a government mission that was blatantly illegal under Cuba law,” Gilbert said. “He was arrested, he was convicted, he was sentenced to 15 years in confinement, and to date, our government has done virtually nothing to obtain his release.”
Earlier this month, Gross embarked on a nine-day hunger strike after reports surfaced that after his arrest, USAID had tried to create “a Cuban Twitter” using cellphone text messaging services on the island.
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