After five years of imprisonment on charges of trying to provide internet service for some Cubans, Cuba has finally released American Alan Gross. Gross was arrested on espionage charges and worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development. President Obama has organized a prisoner-swap for Gross. Obama has authorized the release of several Cuban prisoners held in America. The President will make an official statement shortly after noon on Wednesday. Cuba has also announced that Raul Castro will speak at noon and make an “an important announcement on US Cuba relations.”
Cuba arrested Gross for trying to set up an Internet access system while working as a subcontractor with the U.S. Agency for International Development. The communist state, which regards USAID programs as attempts to undermine its government, sentenced Gross to 15 years in prison. White House officials have continually called for Gross release. His imprisonment was an obstacle for improving relations with Cuba, including the possibility of ending the American economic embargo against Cuba.
President Obama is also set to announce a range of diplomatic and regulatory measures aimed at Cuba. Obama publicly acknowledged for the first time last week that Washington was negotiating with Havana for Gross’ release through a “variety of channels.”
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