Cuba

Former Cuba prisoner Alan Gross to be Obama’s guest at State of the Union

American aid worker Alan Gross, a former Cuban prisoner released on humanitarian grounds, pauses while speaking at a news conference in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. President Barack Obama said the U.S. will end more than half a century of isolation of Cuba, initiating talks to resume diplomatic relations, opening a U.S. embassy in Havana and loosening trade and travel restrictions on the nation.
American aid worker Alan Gross, a former Cuban prisoner released on humanitarian grounds, pauses while speaking at a news conference in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. President Barack Obama said the U.S. will end more than half a century of isolation of Cuba, initiating talks to resume diplomatic relations, opening a U.S. embassy in Havana and loosening trade and travel restrictions on the nation. Bloomberg

Alan Gross, who spent five years as a prisoner in Cuba, will be a guest of President Barack Obama at the State of the Union Address on Tuesday night.

Gross and his wife, Judy, will be seated near first lady Michelle Obama.

South Florida sea-rise researcher Nicole Hernandez Hammer also will be in the VIP box in the House of Representatives during the speech. Hammer studies works with Hispanic communities to address climate change issues.

The two are among 22 special guests.

Gross was arrested in 2009 when he says he was setting up Internet access for Cuba’s Jewish community. He was released in December, on the same day President Obama announced a thaw in relations with Cuba.

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