Carter American Cuba

March 31, 2011 by staff 

Carter American Cuba, (AFP) – Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday that his mission in Cuba was not intended to bring home a U.S. contractor recently sentenced to prison in Havana by accusations of espionage.

Carter, who arrived in Cuba on Monday, which was described as a “private” visit at the invitation of the Cuban government, said he spoke “with certain officials” on the case of Alan Gross, Department U.S. State contractor being held by Havana.

But he added, “I’m not here to leave the country.”

“I’m here to meet with Cuban government and those of ordinary citizens,” Carter told reporters in Spanish after visiting a former convent converted into a retirement home.

“This is a great pleasure for me to return to Havana. I hope I can contribute to improving relations between our two countries.

Carter was to meet with President Raul Castro later Tuesday and meet with key dissidents on Wednesday before leaving Cuba.

Dissenting members said the former head of the United States would meet Wednesday morning with dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez and other members of the opposition, including the Sakharov Prize, Oswaldo Paya beneficiary and Elizardo Sanchez, leader of a group ‘leading opposition which is tolerated by the government.

American diplomats said that while Carter is not an official envoy, they hoped he could intervene in the case of crude, is serving a prison sentence of 15 years.

A Cuban court convicted gross earlier this month after being sentenced after a summary trial, as “acts against the independence or territorial integrity” of Cuba. The matter has exacerbated tensions between Washington and Havana.

Carter, who also visited Cuba in, is the most important political figure in the United States to visit the communist island has reigned for nearly half a century old U.S. economic embargo.

The entrepreneur of 61 years was arrested in December 2009 to provide laptop computers and communication devices to Cuba’s small Jewish community.

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved.

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