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The mother of an American being held by Cuba has passed away, a “devastating blow” after the Castro regime refused requests for one last visit with her imprisoned son.

Alan Gross, 65, a USAID subcontractor imprisoned by Cuba since December 2009, has lost more than 110 pounds in custody and is allowed out of his his tiny cell for only one hour per day.

His 92-year-old mother, Evelyn Gross, was diagnosed with lung cancer shortly after Cuba arrested her son. Evelyn’s last wish was to see her son before she died, but Cuban officials refused to give Alan a humanitarian furlough to visit his mother despite repeated pleas.

She passed away Wednesday in Plano, Texas.

“This is a devastating blow for Alan and our family,” said Judy Gross, Alan’s wife. “I am extremely worried that now Alan will give up all hope of ever coming home and do something drastic.”

“Surely, there must be something President Obama can do to secure Alan’s immediate release.”

The Gross family noted in May that Alan vowed his 65th birthday would be the last he spends behind bars.

Alan was extremely close to his mother and spoke to her by phone twice a day before his arrest.

Gross had wrapped up work on a project to increase Internet access and connectivity at Cuban synagogues when he was seized the night before he was to return home. He spent 14 months behind bars before any charges were filed, then in March 2011 was quickly tried and convicted of “acts against the independence or territorial integrity of the state” for distributing cell phones and other communications equipment as part of the USAID project.

He was sentenced to 15 years behind bars. His recent 9-day hunger strike in protest of his sentence came to an end at his mother’s urging.

“Evelyn Gross loved her son dearly, and it’s a shame on the Castro regime that she had to spend the final years of her life pleading for his freedom,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

“This is a tragic example of just how cruel and heartless the Castro regime is. No son and no mother deserve the fate that Alan Gross and his mother faced over the last five years.”

Rubio stressed it’s a time to join the Gross family in solidarity as they grieve.

“But all decent people around the world should be outraged by the continued imprisonment of Alan Gross,” he said. “We should work for his immediate unconditional release and ensure that this already tragic story can at least end with Alan Gross’ freedom and reunification with his surviving family.”

The State Department did not issue a statement on Evelyn’s passing, but spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked about the death of Gross’ mother at Wednesday’s press briefing — as well as the family’s concern that he might commit self-harm if not released soon.

“Well, I will say first that we of course express our deepest and sincerest condolences to Mr. Gross and his family on their loss. We obviously feel it is a tragedy that he was unable to be home in the United States at his mother’s bedside for her passing,” Psaki said.

“We’ve urged the Cuban Government to grant Mr. Gross a humanitarian furlough so that he can travel to the United States and be with his family during this time of mourning, and we’ve made very clear that this is a strong priority for us.”

She acknowledged that would entail returning Gross to Cuban custody. “That is what a furlough is. Yes.”

“I’m just not going to get into any greater level of detail on that front,” Psaki added.

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All Comments   (9)
All Comments   (9)
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Working for USAID ? Where is his employer in this , and shouldn't the Dept of State been representing him ?

Validate your 2nd Amendment Rights . Carry
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't we have 5 Cubans in prison that we could swap? Maybe not the kind who have killed 1000's but there has to be a few related to the ruling class there. But this might cast a bad light on the collectivist concepts that our current rulers are so enamored with.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
So if I was in Joliet doing 3 to 5 for armed robbery I could get out for my mom's funeral? Why do I get the feeling that we're expecting Cuba to do something that we wouldn't do in the US?
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes I see your equivalency here: Installing internet service in synagogues in Cuba is similar to armed robbery in the US. Especially if the government has a problem with people freely communicating with one another. Ironically we may be headed in that direction here as well - but so far we only sic the IRS on them. Were not ready yet for the jail thing.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
You should note that I wasn't commenting on the content or legitimacy of the charges against Mr Gross. Neither you nor I have full details/knowledge of the case. I do not believe that someone serving time for a felony in a US prison would be allowed out for a funeral, yet we expect the Cubans to do it. Isn't that just a little wrong?
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
You are right about my re-direction - apologies. But with respect to your point, one could observe that our government is all about double standards these days.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Every time I read one of these stories (and they've gone from "isolated" to an endless train of State Dept. and administrative ineptitude) I die a little more inside.

The message couldn't be any clearer. Our official position here and abroad is that Americans can be tied to the whipping post any old time. See the Scottish
"Trial by Fire and Sword."
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
One more casualty of the Peace Prize.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
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