American-Jewish prisoner Alan Gross, who has been held in Cuba since late 2009, said he is ending a hunger strike that he had started to protest his treatment by both the Cuban and American governments.
According to a statement released Friday, Gross told his attorney, Scott Gilbert, that he was ending the strike due to requests by family members and friends concerned about his deteriorating health. But Gross said there would be “further protests to come.”
“There will be no cause for further intense protest when both [the Cuban and American] governments show more concern for human beings and less malice and derision toward each other,” he said.
In his initial announcement of the hunger strike, Gross had said, “I began a fast on April 3rd in protest of the treatment to which I am subjected by the governments of Cuba and the United States.”
“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,” he said. “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, whose work as a subcontractor for the United States Agency for International Development entailed helping the Cuban Jewish community access the Internet, is serving a 15-year prison term for what Cuba called “crimes against the state.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he spoke to the Gross family on April 8.
“We are very, very focused on trying to get Alan Gross out of there; his treatment is inhumane,” Kerry said in testimony to Congress.