American Alan Gross has been released from Cuba after five years in prison and is on his way back to the United States.
A senior Obama administration official told that Gross left Cuba on a U.S. government plane Wednesday morning.
“Mr. Gross was released on humanitarian grounds by the Cuban government at the request of the United States,” the official said.
President Obama is expected to speak about the release at noon on Wednesday.
The release follows years of desperate appeals by Gross and his family.
His wife, Judy Gross, said earlier this year that she feared for his life, saying he might do “something drastic.”
Gross was arrested in 2009 while working to set up Internet networks for the island’s Jewish community on a contract with the U.S. government’s Agency for International Development. Washington argues that his activities were humanitarian, and he says he posed no threat to Cuba.