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Mon Feb 18, 2013, 06:34 PM

Senator Patrick Leahy leads US group to Cuba to seek release of Alan Gross

Source: Guardian

A delegation of American lawmakers led by Senator Patrick Leahy arrived in Cuba on Monday, in order to gauge the island's economic changes and to lobby on behalf of Alan Gross, an American whose detention has chilled relations between the two countries. The trip was the first to the Communist-run island by high-level US politicians since President Barack Obama's re-election in November.

A year ago, another group of legislators led by Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, went to Cuba and met President Raul Castro. They also visited Gross, who was jailed in 2009 for illegally distributing communications equipment on the island while on a US-funded democracy-building program.

The current group led by Leahy will stress that freeing Gross, who is serving a 15-year sentence, is a crucial prerequisite for improved ties between the US and Cuba, a state department official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, lacking authorization to comment publicly about the sensitive visit. The lawmakers also hope to get a firsthand look at economic changes on the island, the official said, including the legalization of limited private enterprise, the creation of a real-estate market and the elimination of travel restrictions for most islanders.

The delegation also includes the Republican senator Jeff Flake, the Democrat senators Sherrod Brown, Debbie Stabenow and Sheldon Whitehouse and the Democratic congressmen Jim McGovern (Massachusetts) and Chris Van Hollen from Maryland, Gross's home state. The group arrived Monday and is scheduled to leave early Wednesday. It was not clear with whom they will meet, or if they will be granted permission to see Gross.

Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/18/patrick-leahy-cuba-alan-gross



I doubt they'd make this trip if there wasn't a strong signal that things can finally get resolved. Good luck to Leahy!

6 replies, 1761 views

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Reply Senator Patrick Leahy leads US group to Cuba to seek release of Alan Gross (Original post)
flamingdem Feb 2013 OP
geek tragedy Feb 2013 #1
dipsydoodle Feb 2013 #3
geek tragedy Feb 2013 #5
NaturalHigh Feb 2013 #6
rachel1 Feb 2013 #2
geek tragedy Feb 2013 #4

Response to flamingdem (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 06:39 PM

1. This could turn into a positive if Cuba lets the guy go.

The old ways on both sides--bullying and embargoes and attempts to undermine on the US side, oppression and stifling the spread of information on the Cuban side--need to go away.

And it does astound me that people who are Julian Assange fans can support the Cuban government when it does stuff like this.

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 06:43 PM

3. US did it with the Cuban Five

and if you've been to Cuba you'll be aware of what can and cannot be taken into the country.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 06:51 PM

5. Sure, just like I'm certainly aware of what can and can't be taken

into or out of North Korea, Iran, or Saudi Arabia.

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 12:23 AM

6. I think they will let him go sometime soon.

I expect some sort of humanitarian pardon to be announced.

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Response to flamingdem (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 06:42 PM

2. If Alan Gross had minded his own affairs I doubt he'd be in this situation

It's not that difficult to understand.

Furthermore, would anyone be surprised if part of his US-funded "democracy-building" program involved disseminating propaganda?

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Response to rachel1 (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 06:50 PM

4. Please tell me you don't support Julian Assange.

Or do you support some kinds of disobedience to restrictions on information but not others?

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