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A reported blog on happenings around Latin America.

Jailed American going home?

Cuba has invited American envoy Bill Richardson to visit
Bill richardson 2011 09 08Enlarge
Richardson's on the case in Cuba. (Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images)

An American jailed in Cuba for nearly two years could be going home soon.

Bill Richardson, former governor of New Mexico and negotiator extraordinaire, has arrived in Cuba to discuss the man’s release with Cuban officials.

Alan Gross is currently serving 15 years for bringing communications equipment into the country illegally. 

The Cubans say he’s a spy working for the American government to destabilize the Castro regime.

The Americans say he’s not a spy. But Gross was working for a program funded by USAID, the U.S. government’s aid agency, to encourage democracy in the communist country.

Awkward. 

Gross had brought a satellite telephone to a small Jewish community in Cuba, so that they could access the internet. Cubans typically don't have internet access at home. Gross said he didn’t mean to offend — or destabilize — the government.

But the Cubans were having none of it. Relations between the U.S. and Cuba, which are never very good, have soured over Gross’ detention. 

He’s already been in prison for 22 months, and it’s still unclear whether Richardson will have any luck.

The former governor and ontime U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Richardson has had a long history of persuading governments to release American prisoners.

Richardson visited once before to try to free Gross, without success. This time, though, Raul Castro’s government invited him to visit — which may mean that Castro is ready to let him go.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/que-pasa/jailed-american-alan-gross-cuba-bill-richardson