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U.S. lawmakers visit jailed contractor in Cuba


16:51, February 21, 2013

HAVANA, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- A delegation of U.S. lawmakers wrapped up a three-day trip to Cuba Wednesday after visiting the jailed U.S. contractor Alan Gross.

The U.S. Interests Section in Cuba confirmed that Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy and House lawmaker Chris Van Hollen visited Gross, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2011 on a charge of subversion of Cuban government.

Gross, 63, was arrested in December 2009 for illegally distributing satellite communications equipment and laptops in Cuba, leading authorities to suspect him of supporting anti-government groups.

No further details of the visit were provided, but the delegation of seven U.S. congressmen was reportedly aiming to seek Gross' release.

Senator Leahy, who led the delegation, was in a similar trip last year.

Cuba had said it was willing to negotiate about Gross' freedom in exchange for the release of five Cuban spies jailed in the United States since 1998, but Washington refused.

During the three-day trip, the U.S. lawmakers met with Cuban President Raul Castro, National Assembly leader Ricardo Alarcon, and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.

The delegation is leaving for Haiti to assess the situation there three years after a devastating earthquake hit the country.

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