Alan Gross: ‘I feel like I’m a hostage,’ calls Cuban government ‘shameful’

In a rare telephone interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s Situation Room, Alan Gross, the American aid worker imprisoned by the Castro dictatorship for more than two years and held for ransom, declared that he feels like he is a “hostage” and called the Cuban government’s complete lack of response to his pleas to be allowed to visit his ailing mother in the U.S. “shameful.”

An excerpt from the interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s Situation Room:

GROSS:  I – I – I feel like I’m a hostage.  And they, you know, just one quick thing.

The – the president of the Dominican Republic told me two years ago, when – when he visited.  He said, Alan, I hope you realize this is not about you.  And at that time, I – I could understand that.  I could inte – you know, intellectualize it, that it wasn’t about me, that it was an effort on the part of the Cuban government to – to express its disdain to the United States and – and to try to bring about some kind of trade.

But right now, it is about me and it’s about my family and it’s about my mother.  And I’m taking this very personally.  And for the Cuban government not to show the respect to respond officially to a letter that was submitted by my lawyer, who works for the same firm that represented Elian Gonzalez, I think is shameful – shameful.

The entire transcript of the interview is available HERE.

3 thoughts on “Alan Gross: ‘I feel like I’m a hostage,’ calls Cuban government ‘shameful’”

  1. I’m surprised they allowed him to talk the way he did. I also get the feeling that they’re getting ready to release him.

  2. BLITZER: And, Alan, what’s your message to the highest officials here in Washington, including the president and the secretary of state?

    GROSS: A huge thank you. I think that President Obama and Secretary Clinton have – have really done everything possible to – to obtain my release. I think that there are other things going on in the world that are also pressing on their schedules.

    But I – I have to say that as far as U.S. policy is concerned, I think the president has been a real leader. And I think that he’s made some very intelligent and wise decisions regarding Cuba and – and pretty much everything else that I’ve had a chance to read about over the last couple of years.

    ME: Truly, deeply sad, especially if Gross believes this. Well, maybe he needs to believe it.

  3. Alan Gross also mentioned his jailer in the CNN interview: “Raul Castro is doing some courageous things.” Prior to being sentenced to 15 years, Gross denounced the United States in the hope of getting a reduced sentence. The Cuban Jews he went to assist in Havana testified against him in court and were largely responsible for his conviction. Gross did not go to Cuba motivated by ideology, he was a paid employee who turned on his own government. Since Gross is also an Israeli citizen, the silence of the Israeli government in this case is questionable. Likewise, Bernardo Benes and Max Lesnik, pro-Castro Cuban Jews living in Miami, have not supported Gross.

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