Watch Alan Gross breathe American air for the first time in five years

Video shows the recently released American entering US airspace after being held in Cuba for five years

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The Independent US

The man stands up from his chair and walks over to one of the windows on the plane. He bends downs, peers out and then raises his fists in triumph.

"US airspace! How's that?" someone yells.

The man, Alan Gross, takes two deep, exaggerated breaths.

Video of Gross flying into US airspace after being imprisoned in Cuba for five years shows just how much it meant for the 65-year-old to finally make it home.

Gross was released yesterday as part of an historic deal between the United States and Cuba, with diplomatic ties being forged for the first time since 1961. The United States freed three convicted Cuban spies in return for the release of Gross, a foreign aid worker, and an intelligence agent.

The new video of Gross was shot by Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona. It also shows Gross embracing his wife, Judy, and then his attorney after he was initially released.

President Barack Obama turned a page in history by promising to restore diplomatic ties with Communist-led Cuba, open a US embassy in Havana and set in train multiple other measures to mend the enmity that has existed between the countries for half a century.

“To the Cuban people, America extends a hand of friendship,” the US President declared, in a few words overturning the dictum of isolate-and-destroy that has guided American policy towards its near-neighbour since Fidel Castro imposed Communist rule in 1959 – before Mr Obama was born. “The policy has been rooted in the best of intentions,” he offered. “It has had little effect.”

Cuban President Raul Castro also hailed the landmark exchange of prisoners with the United States on Wednesday and praised U.S. President Barack Obama.

"We need to learn to live together in a civilized way, with our differences," Castro said in televised address that touched off jubilation in the streets of Havana, where the Cuban spies are considered heroes.

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