Alan Gross Released From Cuba
Alan Gross was released from Cuban detention marking the end of the five year saga. U.S. officials reportedly negotiated his release with the release of several Cubans detained in the United States. Fox News reported that a senior Obama official said that Gross left the communist country Wednesday morning on a government plane accompanied by his wife, Maryland Congressman Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. The Associated Press reported that Gross’ release was in time with the freeing of three Cubans incarcerated in the U.S.
President Barak Obama was scheduled to give a speech at noon on Wednesday in regards to the release. President Raul Castro is expected to speak in Havana about the exchange around the same time. Officials saw the detainment of Gross as a hindrance towards building a better relationship with the island country. They were hoping with the recent round of negotiations that broader talks on possibly ending the economic embargo on Cuba could be established.
The release could not have happened at a greater time. For years, Gross and his family had filed numerous appeals to his incarceration only to be rejected. Judy Gross, his wife, feared for his life believing that her husband would attempt something drastic. The exchange also included an American spy imprisoned in the communist country more than 20 years. Authorities did not reveal the identity of the second person for security reasons.
Gross was captured in December of 2009. He reportedly was establishing Internet access for the United States’ Agency for International Development. It was on his fifth trip to the country to assist Jewish communities set up network access that would circumvent local censorship that he was captured. Per Cuban government rules, USAID programs are believed to be attempts by the U.S. to destabilize the government.
He was charged and convicted of attempting to incite a “Cuban Spring” in reference to the Arab Spring...