Hunger strike in Cuba
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    Alan Gross, U.S. contractor held in Cuba, ends hunger strike

    Alan Gross, U.S. contractor held in Cuba, ends hunger strike
    Published April 12, 2014 – EFE

    Alan Gross, the U.S. government contractor serving a 15-year sentence in
    Cuba on subversion charges, has abandoned a hunger strike after eight
    days at the urging of family members, his attorney said Friday.

    The 64-year-old Maryland man began the fast on April 3 to protest
    “inhumane” treatment behind bars and to pressure Havana and Washington
    into making a serious effort “to resolve this shameful ordeal,” in the
    words of a letter he sent his lawyer in Washington.

    Gross abandoned the hunger strike at the behest of his 91-year-old
    mother, according to a statement.

    “There will be no cause for further intense protest when both
    governments show more concern for human beings and less malice and
    derision toward each other,” he told attorney Scott Gilbert.

    Gross traveled to Cuba on behalf of a Maryland company that won a
    contract from the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID,
    to expand Internet access and the flow of information on the
    Communist-ruled island.

    Cuban authorities arrested him in December 2009 in possession of
    communications equipment.

    Havana said he was illegally aiding dissidents and inciting subversion
    and in an August 2012 ruling, Cuba’s highest court upheld the 15-year
    jail sentence imposed on the American.

    Gross began his fast a day after Washington acknowledged the existence
    of a USAID project to create a “Cuban Twitter.”

    USAID’s 2010-2012 ZunZuneo initiative was conducted via a Spanish front
    company using banks in the Cayman Islands.

    “Once Alan was arrested, it is shocking that USAID would imperil his
    safety even further by running a covert operation in Cuba,” attorney
    Gilbert said earlier this week.

    “USAID has made one absurdly bad decision after another. Running this
    program is contrary to everything we have been told by high-level
    representatives of the Obama administration about USAID’s activities in
    Cuba,” Gilbert said.

    Gross has lost more than 49 kilos (110 pounds) since his arrest and is
    confined to a small cell with two other prisoners for 23 hours a day,
    his lawyer said.

    Cuba has hinted that it would release Gross in exchange for the return
    of the three of the “Cuban Five” intelligence agents who remain jailed
    in the United States.

    Washington has dismissed talk of a possible swap, demanding that Cuba
    release Gross unconditionally.

    EFE

    Source: Alan Gross, U.S. contractor held in Cuba, ends hunger strike |
    Fox News Latino –
    http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2014/04/11/alan-gross-us-contractor-held-in-cuba-ends-hunger-strike/

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