By Michael Pearson
Please, Mr. President, don't leave me behind.
That's the gist of former U.S. subcontractor Alan Gross' plea to President Barack Obama in a letter on the fourth anniversary of Gross' imprisonment in a small military prison cell in Cuba.
In the letter, Gross - convicted by a Cuban court of "acts against the independence or territorial integrity of the state" - says he spends 23 hours a day in a small cell with two other inmates, is in poor health and is largely cut off from the outside world.
"With the utmost respect, Mr. President, I fear that my government - the very government I was serving when I began this nightmare - has abandoned me," wrote Gross, a former subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development. "Officials in your administration have expressed sympathy and called for my unconditional release, and I very much appreciate that. But it has not brought me home."FULL STORY
By Jill Dougherty
An American imprisoned in Cuba, along with his wife in the United States, is suing the U.S. government and the group for which he worked, citing what they call an "abject failure to advise, train and protect him."
Alan Gross, 63, has been held in a Cuban prison since December 2009. He was arrested for bringing in banned communications equipment as part of a State Department program to spread democracy and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The Grosses claim that both the U.S. government and the contractor, Development Alternatives Inc., based in Bethesda, Maryland, "failed to disclose adequately to Mr. Gross, both before and after he began traveling to Cuba, the material risks that he faced due to his participation in the project."
The suit also charges that the State Department and DAI failed to provide him with education and training that were necessary to minimize the risk of harm to him, and should have delayed the project "until the risks subsided."
In an interview with CNN's Jill Dougherty, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed the Cuban government to release American Alan Gross, who has been held by the Cuban government for over two years. Clinton spoke during a wide ranging interview during a stop in India.
Gross, spoke by telephone from his prison in Cuba with CNN's Wolf Blitzer last Friday. The call was broadcast on "The Situation Room."