The daughter of Cuban head of state Raul Castro said that jailed American Alan Gross “has been granted everything that he’s asked for.”
In an interview on CNN to be aired Monday, June 4, Mariela Castro told host Christiane Amanpour: “Alan Gross has been granted everything that he’s asked for: he has been able to see his wife, he has been able to have matrimonial, conjugal visits, and he has been treated with respect and dignity the way we always treat prisoners in Cuba. We haven’t received the same treatment on the other hand for our five prisoners who have very long sentences that are not right. I think that the six must be released—both the five Cubans and Alan Gross.”
Castro is referring to what are known as The Cuban Five, a group of intelligence officers being held in the U.S. for espionage. She said her husband’s request was similar to that of Rene Gonzalez, whose brother is dying of cancer in Cuba.
Gross was arrested in 2009 and sentenced last year to 15 years on charges related to his distribution of communications equipment to the island’s small Jewish community, working as a contractor for the U.S. Agency on International Development.
He has appealed for humanitarian leave of two weeks to visit his 90-year-old mother, who has inoperable lung cancer. A U.S. judge allowed Gonzalez, on parole after serving time for espionage, to return to Cuba for two weeks to visit his dying brother.
Gross’ daughter also has undergone cancer treatment since his arrest.
Castro told Amanpour that the release of both the Cuban Five and Gross would be the “happiest solution.”
A number of analysts have said that the Cuban government is detaining Gross in order to trade him for the Cuban Five.