Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter Visits Cuba Amid Controversy Over Alan Gross Case

March 29, 2011 8:39 am 1 comment

Former President Jimmy Carter.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter arrived in Cuba Monday for a three-day visit, where he is expected to discuss the case of jailed American contractor Alan Gross.

Wearing a white guayabera, Carter and his wife Rosalynn were greeted on the tarmac in Havana by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez. The 86-year old former president is expected to meet with Cuban leader Raúl Castro and other high ranking officials.

The visit from Carter has attracted a great deal of attention in Cuba, where his administration is remembered as the first to ease restrictions on travel to Cuba by Americans.

The Carter Center in Atlanta said the trip was a “private, nongovernmental mission,” but many hold out hope that he will discuss the release of Alan Gross, who earlier this month was sentenced to 15 years in prison for establishing illegal Internet connections using satellite communications equipment under a U.S. Aid program.

If Carter does help secure the release of Gross, which the Obama administration says improved relations hinge on, than Carter’s visit could jump-start a new period in U.S.-Cuban relations. Carter is the only former or sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba in more than five decades and previously went to the island in 2002.

Besides meetings with Cuban officials, Carter will also hold talks with leader of Cuba’s tiny Jewish community.

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1 Comment

  • 15 years ! Come on–after all Allan Gross was just trying to open up avenues of information forbidden under the Castro dictatorship–it’s not like he was bombing a country to enforce air space!

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