Attorney of jailed American in Cuba presses Obama for action
By Justin Sink - 04/23/14 02:59 PM EDT
The attorney for a USAID worker jailed in Cuba plead with President
Obama to "sit down with the Cuban government" and try to strike a deal
for his release in an interview Wednesday with MSNBC.
Scott Glibert, the attorney for jailed American Alan Gross, asked the
White House to dispatch top American officials to conduct negotiations
with the Castro regime in a bid to secure the former government
"Our message, really, is to the president of the United States," Gilbert
said. "And it is President Obama, please engage on this issue. We
understand the world's a complicated place. We understand the world will
not become less complicated, but please engage on this issue. Sit down
with the Cuban government. Try to reach a resolution."
Gross was jailed more than four years ago when it was discovered he
helped to set up Internet access for a small Jewish community on the
communist nation. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Gilbert, who visited Cuba recently to meet with Gross and Cuban
officials, warned the former government employee was "not doing well"
and said he had lost 12 pounds in a hunger strike to protest his
"He told me yesterday emphatically that May 2, which marks his 65th
birthday, will be the last birthday that he marks in Cuba, one way or
the other," Gilbert said.
Last December, the White House said Obama had personally lobbied foreign
leaders and other "international figures" to help convince the Castro
regime to free Gross.
"The State Department has kept Mr. Gross' case at the forefront of
discussions with the Cuban government and made clear the importance the
United States places on his welfare," White House press secretary Jay
Carney said. "They have also engaged a wide range of foreign
counterparts, and urged them to advocate for Mr. Gross' release."
But Gilbert said he had not received "any response" from the Obama
"The Cubans want to sit down with the United States and reach a
negotiated resolution," Gilbert said. "We have asked the president to
engage and to have the administration participate in such a negotiation.
And we believe that the administration should do whatever it takes to
free Alan, who was in Cuba in the first place on U.S. government business."
Source: Attorney of jailed American in Cuba presses Obama for action |