The mother of U.S. government subcontractor Alan P. Gross, serving a 15-year prison sentence in Havana, died Wednesday without seeing her son one last time after the Cuban government denied his request for a furlough, the Gross family said.
“Evelyn Gross, 92, died June 18 in Plano, Texas, after a long battle with lung cancer,” the family said in an emailed statement. She had been diagnosed four years ago and her “last wish was to see her son before she died.”
“Cuban officials refused to give Alan a humanitarian furlough to visit his mother, despite repeated pleas and the certainty that she was dying,” the statement added.
“This is a devastating blow for Alan and our family,” said Gross’ wife, Judy Gross. “I am extremely worried that now Alan will give up all hope of ever coming home and do something drastic. Surely, there must be something President Obama can do to secure Alan’s immediate release.”
Gross was arrested in late 2009 and was convicted of threatening Cuba’s national security by illegally delivering sophisticated communications equipment to Cuban Jews. The satellite telephones that would have allowed them to bypass government controls when accessing the Internet.