Former president and revolutionary leader Fidel Castro has met with five Cuban agents who were the focus of a years-long political battle for their return to the island from imprisonment in the U.S.

The official daily Granma on Monday carries a letter by Castro about the five-hour meeting he says occurred on Saturday. Castro says the men caused no damage to the United States, where they were arrested in 1998 and later convicted on spying-related charges.

The letter is accompanied by photos of the meeting.

The United States returned three of the men to Cuba on Dec. 17 under a prisoner exchange. The others were already free after completing their U.S. prison sentences.

Cuba released USAID contractor Alan Gross on the same day in exchange for the agents.