Cuba prisoner tells his story

International humanitarian aid worker Alan Gross, who was held in a Cuban prison for three years, is scheduled to speak tonight in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom on his experiences and U.S. relations with Cuba. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

After three years in a Cuban prison, international humanitarian aid worker Alan Gross is coming to USF.

The lecture is part of the Global Conversation Series and is co-sponsored by the USF Center for Strategic & Diplomatic Studies, University Lecture Series and Student Government. The doors for the event open at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday in the Marshall Student Center (MSC) Ballroom, and the lecture will start at 8 p.m. 

Gross spent 25 years fighting poverty and oppression in over 50 countries. This work led him to Cuba in 2009 to improve wireless connections in a small Jewish community, where he was accused of working in American intelligence.

His 15-year sentence was cut short in 2014 due to efforts from his wife and humanitarian groups worldwide. In an interview on “60 Minutes” almost a year after his release, he talked about the time he spent walking in circles in his cell at Carlos J. Finlay Military Hospital in Havana to stay in shape and discussed the torturous threats he received in addition to the physical wear on his body, which included losing 110 pounds and five teeth from malnutrition.

The lecture will focus on his experiences while held captive in Cuba, his perspective on U.S. relations with Cuba and what he learned from his experience.

“Gross will candidly share the story of his incarceration, the people he met, the ordeals he experienced, and the adventures and lessons he has learned in his career,” a press release said.

Prior to the event, the Top of the Palms restaurant, located on the third floor of the MSC, will host a reception at 6:30 p.m., and a meet and greet will take place after the lecture. The event is free for students and the general public on a first-come, first-served basis