Thursday, March 31, 2011
The United States should end its trade embargo on Cuba to mend ties, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said on Wednesday, March 30, and he also urged Havana free jailed U.S. aid contractor Alan Gross.
Speaking on Wednesday, March 30th, the last day of a three-day visit to the Caribbean island, Carter said Cuba needed to give more freedom to its own people.
Carter also visited former leader Fidel Castro on Wednesday. Fidel Castro, now 84, handed over the presidency to his younger brother Raul in 2008.
FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER SAYS:
"In addition to meeting with President Raul Castro - quite an extended conversation - and this morning I just came from meeting with Fidel Castro, who seems to be in good health - we welcomed each other as old friends. I had a meeting this morning with some of the groups that are critical of the Cuban government, and I'm very hopeful that in the future some of their complaints might be answered by the government. I've met with about 12 of the former prisoners who were released under orders from President Raul Castro at the instigation of the Cardinal. Obviously, they would like to see the other former prisoners in Spain returned to Cuba or go wherever they wish in the world, and I'll be discussing this further with President Raul Castro when I meet him at the airport in a few minutes after this session."
My impression: I can't believe a former president of the U.S. who supposedly knows more and better than anyone what has and is currently happening in Cuba calls Raul Castro president. Carter, when did Cubans vote for Raul? When? Wasn't he put in that position by his brother.
FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER ALSO VERBATIM:
"The Cuban officials are very proud of the fact that they have welcomed comments and suggestions from the people of Cuba, and many of those suggestions have been incorporated I understand into text that will be considered during the Congress. My own hope is that in the future, there will be added to these documents a complete freedom for all Cuban people for speech and for assembly and for travel. That all the internationally adopted standards for human rights will be enforced in Cuba."
FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, JIMMY CARTER ALSO STATES:
"Also this morning, I had a chance to meet with Alan Gross, a man whom I believe to be innocent of any serious threat to the Cuban government or to the Cuban people. He's been sentenced to a long term in prison, and my hope is that he might also soon be given his own freedom. So there are many things that can be done between our two countries to improve relationships and to let us have normal relations in every possible way."
FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, JIMMY CARTER ALSO SPOKE OF THE CUBAN FIVE AND IT SURPRISED ME TO HEAR HIM SAY THEY SHOULD BE FREED JUST BECAUSE THEY'VE BEEN JAILED FOR 12 YEARS:
"I did not come here with the idea of arranging any kind of swap. I think the two cases - between Alan Gross and the so-called Cuban Five - are completely separate. I don't think they should be interrelated."
FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, JIMMY CARTER, SAYING:
"As you may know - I don't know if you know this or not - but there's been very close cooperation I understand, between North American and Cuban intelligence in dealing with terrorism threats from al-Qaeda and from other organization in the Gulf region."
My view: I had no idea that North American and Cuban intelligence have worked together dealing with terrorism threats from al-Qaeda, but these statements from Carter made me wonder in how many other aspects have, or continue to work together.
Posted by Arlena at 12:23 PM