U.S. rejects ransom letter from Cuban regime for hostage Alan Gross
U.S.: Trading Alan Gross for Cuban spies is unlikely
Cuba’s offer to swap U.S. government subcontractor Alan Gross for five Cuban spies convicted in Miami is not at all acceptable to Washington, a senior State Department official affirmed Monday on the third anniversary of Gross’ arrest.
“We reject the notion of linkage,” said the official, who met with several journalists in Miami but asked for anonymity under State Department procedures. “There is no parallel between the two cases.”
Gross’ continued detention in Havana has become a powerful roadblock in efforts to improve U.S.-Cuba relations, with the Obama administration holding off talks on migration, drug and people smuggling and other issues until he returns home.
The official noted that while the administration will continue its policy of helping the Cuban people — it lifted most restrictions on Cuban-American travel and remittances — it is “very hard to see us making progress in bilateral relations while he is in jail.”
U.S. officials have previously denied the possibility of a deal for Gross and the spies. But the third anniversary of the U.S. man’s arrest sparked a new round of speculation — some of it fueled by Cuban authorities — about a swap.
Gross, 63, of Potomac, Md., was arrested in Havana on Dec. 3, 2009 after he delivered three satellite telephones to Cuban Jews so they could access the Internet and contact people abroad without using the government’s tightly monitored telephone monopoly.
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