The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Wednesday that a biopsy conducted on Jewish-American contractor Alan Gross, who has been imprisoned in Cuba since December 2009, shows that he does not have cancer.
According to Gross’s attorney Jared Genser, Gross did not authorize the Cuban ministry to release the results of his tests.
“Until [Nov. 27], the Cuban government’s position was that it would be unwilling under any circumstance to allow an independent medical examination of Mr. Gross… We were, therefore, delighted to hear that the Cuban government had reversed its prior position… We will shortly have an American oncologist apply for a visa to see him,” Genser said in a statement. “We urge the Cuban government to allow this to happen promptly so we can put questions about Mr. Gross’s health to rest.”
Additionally, diagnostic radiologist Alan A. Cohen had already examined the biopsy for Gross’s legal team, and Cohen’s assessment of a biopsy that yielded blood and muscle cell is “hopeful” but “not definitive since the sample size is small,” according to a letter Cohen wrote to Gross’s wife Judy in late October. Cohen believed the tests conducted on Gross were inadequate.
“The appropriate manner to work up the mass is with (an) MRI, with and without gadolinium contrast, and use the findings to perform a directed biopsy with a larger needle to get a core of tissue,” Cohen said in the letter, which was released by Gross’s legal team.
Gross was sentenced to a 15-year prison term for bringing communications devices to the country’s Jewish community. He was working for a U.S. firm called Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI) to promote democracy, but Cuba convicted him of “crimes against the state.”