Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    US sends a new top diplomatic envoy to Cuba

    US sends a new top diplomatic envoy to Cuba

    Washington (AFP) – The United States has selected career diplomat
    Jeffrey DeLaurentis as its new top diplomat in Havana, a State
    Department official said Wednesday.

    DeLaurentis, who has previously worked as a diplomat in Havana, Bogota
    and at the United Nations, will lead the US Interests Section in the
    Cuban capital, a de facto embassy.

    The United States and Cuba do not have full diplomatic relations, but
    rather interests sections in their respective capitals.

    Washington has had an economic embargo on Cuba — the only
    Communist-ruled country in the Americas — since 1962.

    DeLaurentis succeeds John Caulfield in the post. Caulfield is due to
    complete his assignment in July.

    US-Cuban ties, poor for more than five decades, were further strained
    after an American contractor was sentenced to 15 years in prison in Cuba
    in 2011 for allegedly distributing communications equipment as a USAID
    contractor.

    Havana has suggested it could release Alan Gross, 65, if Washington
    frees the remaining “Cuban Five” intelligence agents, who were convicted
    in a 1998 US spy case — a prospect the United States has soundly rejected.

    Source: US sends a new top diplomatic envoy to Cuba – Yahoo News –
    http://news.yahoo.com/us-sends-top-diplomatic-envoy-cuba-230359917.html;_ylt=AwrBEiS7XJBT5jUA8JDQtDMD