BACKLASH

U.S. Demands Contractor’s Release from Cuba

The White House is demanding Cuba release the U.S. contractor recently sentenced to prison for 15 years. Alan Gross was convicted on Friday for crimes against the state and was cited as a prime example of the United States' attempt to overthrow the government. Gross’ work was humanitarian and largely committed to helping connect Cuba’s Jewish community to the Internet. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley backed the White House, saying, "We deplore this ruling. Alan Gross is a dedicated international development worker who has devoted his life to helping people in more than 50 countries. He was in Cuba to help the Cuban people connect with the rest of the world." Jaime Suchliki, a Cuba expert at the University of Miami, says that if Cuba decides to free Gross, they might negotiate a prisoner swap and ask for the release of five accused Cuban spies who were convicted in 2005.