Alan Gross, the American contractor imprisoned in Cuba for four years, has announced a hunger strike. Gross, who was arrested and accused of spying for the U.S. in 2009, is undertaking the attention-getting measure to demand that President Obama prioritize his case and Cuba release him, New York Times reports.
“I am fasting to object to mistruths, deceptions, and inaction by both governments, not only regarding their shared responsibility for my arbitrary detention, but also because of the lack of any reasonable or valid effort to resolve this shameful ordeal,” Mr. Gross said in a statement released on Tuesday morning.
Gross was working in Cuba as a contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development, and was arrested for distributing computers and satellite equipment without the proper permits.
White House officials called for Gross’ release in December, on the fourth anniversary of his arrest. Still, Gross and his wife feel the U.S. government hasn’t done enough to help him.
His case was back in the news last week when word broke about a different USAID program known as “Cuban Twitter.” The project aimed to undermine the country’s Communist regime, and while unclassified, it was described as discreet.
According to the Washington Post, Gross’s lawyer released a statement arguing that the Twitter program jeopardized not only Gross’ case but his life.
“Once Alan was arrested, it is shocking that USAID would imperil his safety even further by running a covert operation in Cuba,” Gilbert said. “USAID has made one absurdly bad decision after another. Running this program is contrary to everything we have been told by high-level representative of the Obama administration about USAID’s activities in Cuba.”