Cuba: Alan Gross is in 'normal' health, contrary to family's claims
Family says will reserve judgment until it reviews medical records; Cuba says Gross will continue being held at military hospital despite that his health does not require it.
Jailed Jewish-American contractor Alan Gross is in “normal” health and is being treated for his chronic conditions, the Cuban government said in a statement.
The Cuban government on Saturday released Gross’ medical records in response to accusations by U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland that he could no longer walk on his own even in his small cell.
“The Government of the United States and Mr. Gross’ family have been regularly receiving a complete medical report about his health,” the statement issued over the weekend said. “Cuban authorities have periodically been meeting with U.S. officials and with Mr. Gross’ family in order to share all information about his health.
The Cuban government accused Gross' family of spreading a campaign of distortions over his health. In a statement, the government said it “regrets the distortions that are being spread on the subject of Mr. Gross’ health and respects his right to the privacy of doctor-patient information. Cuba demands that this campaign of fabrications ceases; and should it continue, there will be no other alternative than to publish abundant information on the subject.”
Gross’ family said they would reserve judgment until they had a chance to review the medical records.
“We appreciate the Cuban government today finally releasing Alan’s medical records and test results to us,” the family said in a statement released through its lawyer, Peter Kahn. “It is unfortunate that it took more than a month for them to do so, despite repeated requests. We will reserve any further comment until after Alan’s U.S. doctors have an opportunity to review and analyze the medical documentation the Cubans are providing.
“Suffice it to say, however, anyone who has seen the recent stark photos of Alan understands the family’s legitimate concern for his physical and mental well-being.”
In what appeared to be a thinly veiled warning, the Cuban government said Gross is well enough to serve his sentence in a regular prison. However, it added, he will continue being held at the military hospital for now. "Even though Mr. Gross could be held at any prison facility due to the fact that his situation is not incompatible with that, he is being held at a military hospital," the statement said. "This is not because his health requires it, but to ensure for him the best conditions."
Gross, 63, of Potomac, Maryland, was arrested in 2009 for allegedly bringing satellite phones and computer equipment to members of Cuba’s Jewish community. He was sentenced last year to 15 years in prison.
He is being held in a medical facility and has been visited by family, friends and Jewish leaders. Gross is allowed weekly calls to the United States.