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Posted March 26, 2011 by publisher in Cuba Human Rights

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Rob Sequin | Havana Journal

With no notice, former President Jimmy Carter will be in Cuba on Monday. The AFP is reporting that US diplomats in Havana expressed hope that he will press the Cuban government to release Alan Gross.

Carter will arrive in Havana Monday for a private three-day visit at the invitation of the Cuban government to discuss ways to improve US-Cuban relations, the non-profit Carter Center said Friday.

The Carter Center announcement made no mention of the Gross case, but a spokeswoman for the US diplomatic mission in Havana made clear Friday the United States would welcome his help.

“We’re hoping that he will talk with the Cuban government to ask for a humanitarian release and if the Cuban government could please consider it, hopefully immediately,” Molly Koscina, spokeswoman for the US diplomatic mission in Havana, told AFP.

Carter is scheduled to meet with Cuban President Raul Castro and other Cuban officials. His wife Rosalyn is traveling with him.

The Carter Center said he wanted to learn about Cuba’s new economic policies, which call for major layoffs from the public sector and new rules allowing small-scale private enterprise, and an upcoming Party Congress.

“The trip is a follow-up to their May 2002 visit to Cuba. It is being undertaken as a private, nongovernmental mission under the auspices of the not-for-profit Carter Center,” the center said.

When Carter, who was president from 1977-1981, visited Cuba in 2002 he met with then-president Fidel Castro and called for an end to the US embargo on the island.

He also called on the regime to allow UN human rights officials to visit the island, and publicly praised the Varela Project, a pro-democracy petition calling for a referendum on increased freedom of expression and amnesty for political prisoners.

Carter met during that visit with leading Cuban dissidents Oswaldo Paya and Elizardo Sanchez.

ENS

So, is President Carter traveling with a special message from President Obama? Will he be able to secure the release of Alan Gross? The timing is right. If Alan Gross is released next week, the world will see that Raul is clearly in charge and he should get some international praise going into the Communist Party Congress in mid April.

Maybe this time it really is different? If Alan Gross is released then Fidel Castro is no longer in charge in Cuba.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on March 26, 2011 by bernie with 199 total posts

    This has nothing to do with Fidel Castro being in charge???  Alan Gross violated Cuban law, he committed a crime he should do the crime???
    The non-profit carter center is just a scam, to
    avoid paying their fair share of taxes to the USA government, like all nonprofit organizations, including the many foundations??


  2. Follow up post #2 added on March 26, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I actually don’t disagree with his charge or conviction.

    I think it’s sad that it took the Cuban government 15 months to try him and two days to convict him.

    Doesn’t that seem a bit odd?

    Should he do the time? I would hope that he would be released on humanitarian reasons. There are certainly enough reasons to let him go.

    As far as the Carter center and taxes, maybe you shouldn’t be so cynical about non-profits unless you know something about them.



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  3. Follow up post #3 added on March 26, 2011 by nacho with 111 total posts

    15 months to try Gross… was the Cuban gov waiting for a US signal re: the Miami 5? Or was the gov waiting to time the trial with the TV broadcast of the new “cyberwar soap opera” Las Razones de Cuba? We’ll never know! I doubt Carter secures the release of Gross but I hope to be proved wrong


  4. Follow up post #4 added on March 27, 2011 by Robert

    Is he brokering a deal to trade Gross for the Cuban 5? The Cuban 5 have done many years of their sentence already, Gross is old and has health problems. I think that maybe, behind the scenes, they’ve been working out a way to do this for a while…say the last 15 months? Just a thought.


  5. Follow up post #5 added on March 27, 2011 by Robert

    Carter has experience visiting with the Castros and is perhaps the perfect elder statesman for the negotiations?


  6. Follow up post #6 added on March 27, 2011 by nacho with 111 total posts

    Agreed, Carter does have the experience and clout. And maybe these 15 months were used for some behind-the-scenes horse-trading. However, I doubt the Cuban gov will release Gross unless they get the 5 back.


  7. Follow up post #7 added on March 27, 2011 by Robert

    An eye for an eye…or a spy for a spy? This exchange could be a way for the two nations to possibly continue improving relations? This could be very interesting. Lets see what happens.


  8. Follow up post #8 added on March 30, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Maybe Jimmy Carter won’t be leaving Cuba with Alan Gross but he certainly is meeting with the right people while he is there.

    I think that his visit is a prelude to some… or many big announcements in Cuba and on the US side regarding US Cuba relations.

    The Communist Party Congress is coming up in a couple weeks, maybe Alan Gross will be released between now and then, who knows.

    I would assume that Jimmy Carter will meet with President Obama and provide an honest, unbiased report of the current situation in Cuba.

    Question is, does President Obama have the courage to make bold advances in US Cuba policy?



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  9. Follow up post #9 added on March 30, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Former President Jimmy Carter met with Alan Gross today but Cuban authorities had made it clear they do not plan to release him.



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  10. Follow up post #10 added on March 30, 2011 by nacho with 111 total posts

    To answer the question about Obama: he won’r make his mind up about many things and has been seating on the fence for two years now.
    Carter found time to meet with Yoani.


  11. Follow up post #11 added on March 31, 2011 by Robert

    I think Obama has been focusing on the American economy…I know if I was a US citizen that’s what I’d want him to do. Even if I was a Cuban American I’d want him working on the unemployment problem first. Having said that, could opening up trade and business with Cuba help both countries?


  12. Follow up post #12 added on April 07, 2011 by DGarrett with 3 total posts

    The USA and Cuba should enter into a trade: Alan Gross for the Cuban 5.


  13. Follow up post #13 added on April 07, 2011 by Robert

    Every time Bill Clinton as president held out an olive branch to Fidel, Fidel would insult the American Government and would hold anti-“evil empire” rallies until Clinton was forced to withdraw the olive branch. Fidel never wanted the embargo lifted. It was too convinient. Lets see what Raul does when it’s offerd…if it’s offered!?


  14. Follow up post #14 added on April 07, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    @DGarrett

    That will never happen. Bad deal for the US and GREAT deal for Cuba. We don’t care THAT much about better relations with Cuba.

    @Robert

    Right. Fidel NEVER wanted the Embargo lifted and that’s why Alan Gross is still there. He is Fidel’s last stand at being relevant in international politics.

    If Raul was really in charge, Alan Gross would have gone home with Jimmy Carter.



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  15. Follow up post #15 added on April 19, 2011 by sabazius25

    what exactly is the specific crime that he was charged and convicted with?  First time reading on this site.  So it takes time for me to get up to speed.


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