Leaders of Cuba’s Jewish community paid a Hanukkah call on U.S. contractor Alan Gross at the Havana military hospital where the American man is serving a 15-year sentence for subversion.
Adela Dworin, president of the Jewish Community Foundation, told Efe that she and Foundation Vice President David Prinstein visited Gross on Monday.
“We spent a little more than a hour with him. We talked about Jewish issues and about the festival of Hanukkah,” she said.
“We lit the eight candles as tradition indicates, and we brought him latkes (potato pancakes), the main dish of the festival, and other sweets,” Dworin said.
Gross “spoke to us about the illness of his mother, who suffers from terminal lung cancer, and he said he has the hope of a gesture toward him so he can see her, because it’s impossible for her to travel to the island because of the critical state of her health,” the Jewish leader said.
Now 63, Gross was detained in Havana three years ago in possession of satellite communications equipment he was planning to distribute among Cuba’s Jewish community under a contract with a firm hired by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Havana says Gross was illegally aiding dissidents and inciting subversion on the Communist-ruled island. Last August, Cuba’s highest court upheld the 15-year jail sentence imposed on the American five months earlier.
The U.S. government and Gross’ family insist the contractor did nothing wrong and demand his immediate release.