Alan Gross released from Cuba after five years

UPDATE (11:25 am): Alan Gross has landed in Andrews Air Force base. — Cuba has released American Alan Gross after five years in prison. “Mr. Gross boarded an American government plane and was en route back to the United States, according to an American government official who declined to be named pending further developments,” The New York Times reported. Gross was originally sentenced to 15 years in prison and accused of being a spy, he was freed as part of a deal that included the release of three Cubans jailed in the U.S. SEE ALSO: Alan Gross marks 5 years in Cuban jail President Obama plans to speak publicly on the case at noon, the official said. In addition, Cuban television announced that President Raul Castro will also speak at noon and make “an important announcement on US-Cuba relations.” AP reported that officials say the U.S. is also looking to open an embassy in Havana in the coming months.  The news agency quoted Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., as saying the agreement between the two countries includes the normalization of banking and trade ties. “This is going to do absolutely nothing to further human rights and democracy in Cuba,” Rubio said in an interview. “But it potentially goes a long way in providing the economic lift that the Castro regime needs to become permanent fixtures in Cuba for generations to come.” The USAID contractor was arrested during his fifth trip to Cuba, according to Global Post, when he was attempting to establish an online network for Havana’s Jews. He was accused of “crimes against the state.” In December 2013, Peter Wallsten of The Washington Post told NPR Gross was being detained in a 10-foot by 12-foot room, with two other prisoners. Gross’ wife, Judy, said her husband had lost more than 100 pounds during his detention. “He can barely walk due to chronic pain, and he has lost five teeth and much of the sight in his right eye,” she said in a statement. SEE ALSO: Alan Gross goes on hunger strike while Cuban Twitter scandal growsThe post Alan Gross released from Cuba after five years appeared first on Voxxi.

Former Cuban prisoner Alan Gross in U.S. soil. (Twitter/@JeffFlake)

UPDATE (11:25 am): Alan Gross has landed in Andrews Air Force base.

Cuba has released American Alan Gross after five years in prison.

“Mr. Gross boarded an American government plane and was en route back to the United States, according to an American government official who declined to be named pending further developments,” The New York Times reported.

Gross was originally sentenced to 15 years in prison and accused of being a spy, he was freed as part of a deal that included the release of three Cubans jailed in the U.S.

SEE ALSO: Alan Gross marks 5 years in Cuban jail

President Obama plans to speak publicly on the case at noon, the official said. In addition, Cuban television announced that President Raul Castro will also speak at noon and make “an important announcement on US-Cuba relations.”

AP reported that officials say the U.S. is also looking to open an embassy in Havana in the coming months.  The news agency quoted Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., as saying the agreement between the two countries includes the normalization of banking and trade ties.

Alan Gross has been freed and is on his way back to the United States.
AP sources: American Alan Gross released from Cuba after 5 years in prison. (AP Photo/James L. Berenthal, File)

“This is going to do absolutely nothing to further human rights and democracy in Cuba,” Rubio said in an interview. “But it potentially goes a long way in providing the economic lift that the Castro regime needs to become permanent fixtures in Cuba for generations to come.”

The USAID contractor was arrested during his fifth trip to Cuba, according to Global Post, when he was attempting to establish an online network for Havana’s Jews. He was accused of “crimes against the state.”

In December 2013, Peter Wallsten of The Washington Post told NPR Gross was being detained in a 10-foot by 12-foot room, with two other prisoners.

Gross’ wife, Judy, said her husband had lost more than 100 pounds during his detention. “He can barely walk due to chronic pain, and he has lost five teeth and much of the sight in his right eye,” she said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: Alan Gross goes on hunger strike while Cuban Twitter scandal grows

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