US senators say Cuba trip makes them optimistic contractor Alan Gross can be freed soon

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Two U.S. Senators say they're optimistic that imprisoned American government contractor Alan Gross will be freed.

Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Tom Udall of New Mexico said in Havana that they met Gross for about two hours Tuesday during a trip that included meetings with Cuban officials.

Gross was detained in December 2009 while working to set up Internet access as a subcontractor for the U.S. government's U.S. Agency for International Development. He was tried and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Gross' family has said he has threatened to commit suicide if he is not released by his birthday next May.

Asked about Gross going free, Flake said: "I do feel we're closer there, one because of what Alan Gross has said himself."