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    Cuba Releases American Alan Gross After Five Years in Prison

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    US-Cuba Relations Recieve Major Makeover (174)
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    The Cuban government has released Alan Gross, who has been imprisoned for five years on espionage charges, while working for the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

    MOSCOW, December 17 (Sputnik) – Cuba has released American citizen Alan Gross, who has been imprisoned for five years, according to a senior US official, Associated Press (AP) reported.

    According to the official, who insisted on anonymity, the Cuban government released Gross on humanitarian grounds at the request of the United States, AP said.

    “This morning, Alan Gross has departed Cuba on a US government plane bound for the United States. Mr. Gross was released on humanitarian grounds by the Cuban government at the request of the United States.” – a US official said in a statement, as quoted by USA Today.

    Gross was released in a prisoner exchange. In addition to Gross, Cuba released another person, who has not yet been identified for security reasons. In turn, the US released three Cuban intelligence agents convicted of espionage in 2011, CNN reported.

    65-year old Gross was arrested on espionage charges, while working as a subcontractor for the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

    According to USA Today, Gross was trying to provide Internet services to Cuban residents, but the Cuban government accused Gross of being part of a US-led scenario to overthrow the current government using an Arab Spring scenario and was sentenced to 15 years in prison, ABC News said.

    In 2012, Havana proposed to exchange Gross for the so-called Cuban Five, a group of intelligence officers that have been serving 15 to 30 years for infiltrating Cuban-American groups in Miami, Florida, according to the Havana Times. The proposal was struck down by the State Department on the grounds that the two situations were not equivalent. That year, Cuban President Raul Castro's daughter expressed the Cuban government's interest in "finding a negotiated solution on humanitarian terms" in an interview with Democracy Now.

    While in prison, Gross declined all visits by his family, US diplomats and medical staff at the military hospital since July. Gross was rendered immobile due to deteriorating health and threatened to go on a hunger strike until released.

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    US-Cuba Relations Recieve Major Makeover (174)

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    prison, cyber espionage, USAID, Alan Gross, Cuba, United States
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