Cuban prosecutors are to seek a 20-year prison sentence for US citizen Alan Gross, who is accused of spying.
Mr Gross, 61, has been charged with plotting against the state and his trial date will be set soon, Cuban state media reported.
The US, which insists Mr Gross is an aid worker not a spy, said it “deplored” the decision.
Washington has previously said there would be no major initiatives on US-Cuba relations until he was released.
Mr Gross was arrested in Havana in December 2009 and held without charge for 14 months.
He was working for the Cuba Democracy Programme, a US government programme aimed at promoting political change in Cuba.
The communist authorities consider this a subversive activity, and they allege that he was distributing illegal satellite equipment to Jewish community groups.
Now he has been charged with “acts against the independence and territorial integrity of the state”, a government statement published in the communist party newspaper Granma said.