Cuba Says Alan Gross Cancer Free

November 28, 2012 | Print Print |

Alan Gross before his arrest.

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban authorities today ruled the possibility of the US “contractor” imprisoned in Cuba, Alan Gross, as suffering from cancer, though this had been speculated in recent weeks, reported DPA news.

The results of a biopsy conducted on October 24 confirm that a lesion behind Gross’s right shoulder “is not carcinogenic,” according to a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry in Havana.

According to that office, American diplomats from the US Interests Section met two days ago at the headquarters of the ministry with the doctors treating Gross and were briefed on the outcome of the tests.

“The biopsy was negative for neoplastic cells,” read the statement, pointing to hematoma related impairment. In October, Gross’s lawyer had argued that the 63-year-old US citizen might have been suffering from cancer in prison.

“This test could not be performed previously since Mr. Gross refused to allow them,” added the Cuban ministry’s statement, which emphasizes that the health of the operative is “normal” and that he is receiving treatment for chronic “ailments” typical of his age.

Sources close to Gross, who has been imprisoned in Cuba since December 2009, have pointed out repeatedly that the American’s health has deteriorated considerably in jail. According to his family, Gross has lost considerable weight since his arrest.

His relatives have also asked several times for Cuban President Raul Castro to pardon him on humanitarian grounds.

“Mr. Gross is exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet of his choice, which has allowed him to eliminate his previously obese condition,” today’s announcement also said.

The Alan Gross case is one of the issues that is currently straining relations between Washington and Havana. Gross was arrested in December 2009 while trying to smuggle sophisticated and banned communications equipment into Cuba.

Cuban authorities accused him of working for US intelligence and attempting to deliver the equipment to the proscribed domestic opposition.

In March 2011, a court sentenced the US citizen to 15 years in prison for “acts against the independence and territorial integrity of the state.” Gross argued that the equipment was designed to facilitate Internet access by the Jewish community in Cuba.

Havana has tried to negotiate the release of Gross in a possible swap for five Cuban citizens imprisoned in the United States since 1998 on charges “conspiracy to commit espionage.” Washington refuses to link the two cases.


What's your opinion?

  • Moses

    The Castros should pardon Mr. Gross for no other reason than the liability they assume by keeping him incarcerated. Should he die or be severely injured while in Cuba, the anti-Castros extremists (those far more extreme than I) would have an absolute field day! By releasing him for humanitarian reasons with “no strings attached”, the Castros would also score much-needed points in the eyes of international watchers who accuse Cuba of violating human rights. Finally, it would put pressure on the US to sit down at the negotiating table with Cuba as Gross’ incarceration appears to be the only remaining obstacle to talks. Of course doing what is logical and practical has never been a hallmark of the Castro dictatorship, as evidenced by the 19-day debacle with Antonio Rodiles.

  • Humberto Capiro (El Cibergues@)

    Why has the Cuban “government” not formally asked to trade Alan Gross for the Cuban 5 spies? It seems that they are uncomfortable with the proposed “deal”! Could it be because Alan Gross was taken hostage and this whole thing is an extortion ploy? If the case against Alan Gross was such a slam dunk why was the international press not allowed to cover his trial and subsequent appeals? And where are the photos of the evidence for all the world to see?? Just ask yourselves these simple questions!

    NPR : In Cuba, Jailed American Alan Gross Faces Trial

    BLOCK: Now, foreign journalists, I understand, are not allowed into the courtroom to cover the trial. You were outside the courthouse today. What were you able to learn there?

    MIROFF: That’s right. He’s being tried in a small municipal courthouse far away from the city center.

    http://www.npr.org/2011/03/04/134272743/In-Cuba-Jailed-American-Faces-Trial

  • Griffin

    Gross is cancer free. He’s just not “free” free.