For Alan Gross, the American subcontractor released this morning after more than five years in a Cuban prison, "it’s good to be home.”
"What a blessing it is to be a citizen of this country," he said this afternoon.
Gross, who was sentenced to 15 years in jail after Cuban authorities accused him of a “subversive” plot to "destroy" the government, praised President Obama’s plan to restore diplomatic relations with the island nation, calling the move “a game changer.”
“To me, Cubanos -- or at least most Cubanos -- are incredibly kind, generous, and talented; it pains me to see them treated so unjustly as one consequence of two governments’ mutually belligerent policies,” he said. “Five and a half decades of history show us that such belligerence inhibits better judgment.”
“It was particularly cool to be sitting next to the Sec of State as he was hearing about his job description for the next few months,” added Gross, who watched the president’s address with Sec. John Kerry.
Reportedly suffering from partial blindness and degenerative arthritis, Gross acknowledged the "extraordinary and determined" efforts of his wife, Judy, and his attorney, Scott Gilbert, who Gross called "my personal Moses."
"They have my endless gratitude, love, and respect," he said. “I want to thank all of the members of Congress from all sides of the aisle, such as Senator Jeff Flake and Reps. Chris Van Hollen and Barbara Lee, who supported, spoke up for, and visited me, subjected themselves to my ranting, and helped me to regain some of my weight. Even in Cuba, M&Ms melt in your mouth."
ABC News' Matt Larotonda contributed to this report.
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