Cuba releases US prisoner after 5 years

Alan Gross, a contractor, was released on Wednesday, December 17 as part of a prisoner exchange deal between Cuba and the US.

An American citizen, who had been detained by the Cuban government since 2009, has been freed.

Alan Gross, a contractor, was released on Wednesday, December 17 as part of a prisoner exchange deal between Cuba and the US.

The move followed an agreement reached by US President, Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro to end decades of hostility between the two countries.

The deal was heralded with a one-hour phone call between Obama and Castro on Tuesday before the arrangement was formally announced on Wednesday.

President Obama also announced that travel and economic restrictions between Cuba and the US would be eased after 18 months of secret talks facilitated by Canada and the Vatican.

Cuba is also said to have freed a US intelligence source who had been detained for more than 20 years while the US released three Cuban intelligence agents who were convicted of espionage in 2001.

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