An American-Jewish IT contractor imprisoned in Cuba for connecting the island’s Jewish community to the internet has begun a hunger strike to protest his treatment.
Alan Gross, 64, has served four out of the 15 years he was sentenced to after his arrest in 2009 while working to give the island’s small Jewish community access that bypassed local restrictions and monitoring.
At the time, Gross was working as a subcontractor for a US government agency and American lawmakers have visited him several times, pressuring Cuban authorities to release him.
In a statement released through his lawyers, Gross slammed both the Cuban and American authorities, saying: “I am fasting to object to mistruths, deceptions, and inaction by both governments.”
He said they had a “shared responsibility for my arbitrary detention” and bemoaned the “lack of any reasonable or valid effort to resolve this shameful ordeal” before finally appealing to President Obama “to get personally involved in ending this standoff so that I can return home to my wife and daughters”.