alan gross_311 reuters.
(photo credit: Ho New / Reuters)
Former US president Jimmy Carter will meet with Cuban President Raul Castro, the
leader of Cuba’s Catholic Church and the island’s Jewish community during a
Havana visit starting on Monday amid speculation he will seek the release of a
jailed American aid contractor.
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His public schedule was issued on
Saturday by the Cuban government, which invited him for his second visit to the
country, the first coming in 2002. He is the only US president, in or out of
power, to come to Cuba since a 1959 revolution that transformed the island into
a communist state.
Alan Gross had been arrested by Cuban authorities last
year and charged with secretly delivering satellite phones to the Jewish
community on the island and entering the country on the wrong
Several Jewish groups, including the Conference of Presidents of
Major North American Organizations and the American Jewish Committee have
petitioned Havana since his arrest, calling for his immediate
Observers have speculated that Cuba is holding Gross as a
bargaining chip it hopes to trade in return for several Cuba spies held in
custody in the US.