HAVANA (CBSMiami) – Two leaders of Cuba’s tiny Jewish community have visited an imprisoned U.S. government contractor who has been charged with crimes against the state, and reported him in good condition..
Jewish leaders Adela Dworin and David Prinstein say they spent two hours with Maryland-native Alan Gross on Wednesday. They celebrated the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashana with him in a private room near the cell where he is held, giving him candy.
They say in an email sent to journalists Friday that Gross led them in a traditional Jewish toast, “Lachaim” (to life). and they shared sweets and coffee. They say Gross told them he is in good health and is receiving adequate medical attention.
Gross was sentenced to 15 years in jail for crimes against the Cuban state, trying to deliver satellite telephones under a US government supported program. That’s illegal under Cuban law without government permission.
His case has torpedoed efforts for improved ties with the United States. Earlier this month, efforts by former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson to intercede on his behalf failed, and the Cuban government refused to allow Richardson to see him.