Rare US-Cuban partnership includes Hemingway, excludes Gross

WASHINGTON — The United States has won cooperation from Cuba to save Ernest Hemingway’s papers, but can’t yet find the keys to free Alan Gross of Potomac, Md., jailed in Cuba for more than three years.

Under a rare partnership, Cuba has agreed to share with the U.S. digitized images of Hemingway’s books and papers from his Cuban home. Technical experts in document conservation from the United States have also visited Cuba to help preserve the Hemingway documents.

Hemingway is beloved in both the United States and Cuba, where he lived for more than 20 years.

While the efforts reflect new U.S.-Cuban cooperation, Cuba’s imprisonment of Alan Gross is still a bone of contention between the two countries.

Gross is a federal contractor jailed for passing out laptops and other communications gear among Cuba’s Jews. He was arrested in December 2009 and sentenced to a 15-year prison term.

“I believe Alan Gross should be released; we urge that of President Raul Castro and the sooner the better,” says Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., who helped broker the deal on the Hemingway papers.

McGovern says he’s asked Secretary of State John Kerry to engage the Cubans on a range of issues, including freedom for Gross.

Kerry told Congress last month that the United States has rejected a Cuban offer to free Gross in exchange for five Cuban spies held in the United States.

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