Cuba releases American Alan Gross as US prepares to overhaul Cuba policy
Cuba has released American aid worker Alan Gross after five years in prison, a U.S. official said on Wednesday amid reports of a prisoner exchange that heralds a major overhaul of U.S. policy toward Cuba.
The U.S. official said Gross was released on humanitarian grounds. CNN reported a prisoner exchange that also included Cuba releasing a U.S. intelligence source and the United States releasing three Cuban intelligence agents.
U.S. President Barack Obama was to make a statement at noon on Cuba, the White House said. Cuban President Raoul Castro was also set to make a statement at that time.
Cuba arrested Gross, now 65, on Dec. 3, 2009, and later convicted the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) subcontractor to 15 years in prison for importing banned technology and trying to establish clandestine internet service for Cuban Jews.
(Reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Susan Heavey)