The wife of a Maryland man jailed in Cuba as an accused spy said Tuesday that she and her husband have been able to talk on the telephone more regularly after she wrote an August letter to Cuban President Raul Castro, but that her husband's health is "not great."
Judy Gross wrote to Castro seeking the release of her husband Alan Gross, who was arrested at the Havana airport in December 2009. At the time, Alan Gross was working as a contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development.
In her letter to Castro, which was first reported over the weekend, Judy Gross said her husband never meant the Cuban government any harm. She also told Castro that the couple's 26-year-old daughter has been diagnosed with breast cancer and that the family needed him "more now than ever before."
"We had very limited contact up until our daughter's cancer diagnosis; now we are permitted to speak on the phone somewhat more regularly," she wrote in response to questions from The Associated Press.
Gross said the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, which represents the Cuban government, confirmed that Castro had read the letter. A call to the Cuban Interests Section from The Associated Press rang unanswered Tuesday.
Gross also said her husband has now lost nearly 90 pounds since his arrest. At the time of her August letter, she wrote that he had lost more than 80 pounds. She said his "physical and mental health are not great."
"He is extremely agitated and anxious, and is having trouble relaxing and staying calm," she wrote.
Judy Gross said the U.S. State Department has been "very responsive" but that she has not heard from the White House and has "no idea what, if anything, they are doing to get Alan home."
U.S. diplomats have insisted Gross was doing nothing wrong. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called for Gross' release in June, saying that his continued detention was harming U.S.-Cuba relations.