CUBA: Jimmy Carter arrives on 3-day visit
Former President Jimmy Carter is on a three-day visit to Cuba amid speculation he may try to win the release of a 61-year-old American convicted by a Cuban court of activities aimed at undermining the Communist-led government.
Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, arrived in Havana on Monday with his wife Rosalynn. He is expected to meet with President Raul Castro and other Cuban officials. His visit is attracting a bit of local news coverage, including by Granma, the official Communist Party newspaper, which mentioned Carter's "genuine interest" in improving ties between the U.S. and Cuba, and by the Havana-based news agency Prensa Latina, which recalled that it was the Carter administration that first eased restrictions on travel to Cuba by Americans (both links in Spanish).
Alan Gross, a USAID contractor who says he was providing Internet equipment to Cubans, was sentenced this month to 15 years in prison, in a case that has further strained relations between Havana and Washington, especially on the issue of human rights. Over the last few months, the Cuban government has released all of the dissidents arrested in a 2003 crackdown.
Carter, on his second trip to Cuba, is the only U.S. president, sitting or otherwise, to have visited the island since the 1959 revolution.
— Tracy Wilkinson in Mexico City
Photo: Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez greets former President Jimmy Carter at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana. Credit: Jorge Luis Gonzalez / Granma.