The Kremlin considered them heroes of "strength and resilience". The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, stressed that Russia always fought to be released. "Russia, from day one, showed solidarity with the international campaign that supported your release and the return to your country. We have maintained a constant pressure, including in our contacts with the Americans. We are pleased that, in the long run, our involvement in your release is over for being helpful and produced results, "said the Minister. The "Cuban five" were condemned, by Americans, to keep tabs on the community of Cuban exiles living in Florida. When they were released in December 2014, the Cuban President, Raul Castro, paid them tribute and dubbed them "heroes of the Republic". The release of Cuban spies is part of the strengthening of relations between the two countries, promoted by the u.s. President, Barack Obama. In Exchange, the Government from Havana released Alan Gross, an employee of a humanitarian organization, held five years ago to take to Cuba, illegal telecommunications equipment.