Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, is on foreign soil visiting Cuba with five other senators.
The trip to the communist-run island is to gauge recent economic changes and to stress the importance of freeing jailed American Alan Gross, whose detention has chilled relations between the two countries. Lawmakers plan to stress that freeing Gross, who is serving a 15-year sentence, is a crucial to improving ties. Cuba has said it is willing to consider releasing the 63-year-old, but in return wants Washington to free five Cuban intelligence agents jailed in the United States. Washington says a straight swap is not in the cards.