2014-05-06T005258Z_1_CBREA4502GE00_RTROPTP_2_CUBA-USA-CONTRACTOR

U.S. delegation urges talks to free American jailed in Cuba

Jailed USAID contractor Gross poses for picture during a visit at Havana's Carlos J Finlay Military HospitalBy Daniel Trotta HAVANA (Reuters) – Four U.S. lawmakers visiting Cuba on Monday urged President Barack Obama to authorize negotiations with the Cuban government about freeing jailed U.S. contractor Alan Gross. Gross, 65, is serving a 15-year sentence over his 2009 arrest and 2011 conviction for attempting to set up an Internet service for Cuban Jews while working as a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Cuba considered his work a subversive program that used illegal, undercover and noncommercial technology. Cuba has said it is willing to engage in negotiations about Gross without preconditions, while U.S. officials have disregarded the offer as an attempt to exchange Gross for the three Cuban agents.

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