Thursday, June 27, 2013

Nelson, at invite of dissidents, considers Cuba visit

Nelson, at invite of dissidents, considers Cuba visit
Mark K. Matthews
4:48 p.m. EDT, June 26, 2013

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, said for the first time
Wednesday that he would consider a visit to Cuba -- but only if the trip
would help both island dissidents and a U.S. contractor who has been
held in custody there since 2009.

"If I were to go to Cuba, I would want to see [U.S. contractor] Alan
Gross and do what I can to get him home," Nelson said in a statement.
"It would be on a humanitarian mission to visit with pro-democracy
groups and opposition figures."

Nelson's comments were sparked by a Wednesday meeting with two Cuban
dissidents: Guillermo "Coco" Farinas and Elizardo Sanchez. Earlier this
month, Nelson also met with Gross' wife to help bring attention to his

Cuba has sentenced Gross to 15 years in prison for what it described as
subversive activities related to his distribution of satellite Internet
equipment to Jewish groups on the island. The U.S. State Department
repeatedly has called for his release, noting a few months ago that he
has "lost more than 100 pounds" since his confinement.

Source: "Nelson: Cuba visit possible, free Alan Gross -" -,0,

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