Alan Gross arrives at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, December 17, 2014.
Lawrence Jackson / Courtesy Reuters

The streets had darkened in Havana on December 3, 2009, as Alan Gross sat in his room at the Hotel Presidente, an elegant building located near the Cuban Foreign Ministry. It was 10 PM, and he had just gotten off the phone with his wife; they planned to have dinner together at their home in suburban Maryland the next day, when he was expected to return. Suddenly, Gross heard a loud knock at his door. Voices barked from the hallway, but Gross, who did not speak Spanish, did not understand. He opened the door and discovered four hulking security agents. Soon he was

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