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Hunger strike by American?

Five years to the day after his arrest in Cuba on espionage charges, former U.S. contractor Alan Gross is threatening a hunger strike, refusing almost all visitors and predicting he will die in prison if he isn't freed by his 66th birthday in May, relatives and backers said Wednesday.

It's impossible to measure the gravity of Gross' threat, but it's clear he is essential to any detente between Cuba and the United States. His declarations have added to a sense that the next five months could be a closing window for the Obama administration and Cuba to move to normalize their relationship.

Gross' wife, Judy, said he has lost more than 100 pounds, can barely walk, and has lost five teeth and much of the sight in his right eye. - AP