ATLANTA (CBS4) -Former President Jimmy Carter is expected to make a visit to Cuba next week to meet with Cuban President Raul Castro. During his trip Carter will discuss economic policies and ways to improve relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

Carter and his wife Rosalynn will arrive in Havana on Monday and stay until Wednesday on a trip under the auspices of his Atlanta-based Carter Center organization, spokeswoman Deanna Congileo said. It is not an official U.S. mission.

Carter’s visit comes days after a Cuban court sentenced U.S. contractor Alan Gross to 15 years in prison for crimes against the state for bringing illegal satellite communications equipment into the country.

Gross, 61, was arrested in December 2009 while working for Bethesda, Maryland-based Development Alternatives, Inc. on a USAID-backed democracy-building project.

The U.S. government and Gross’s family say he was working to improve Internet access for the island’s Jewish community and should be released immediately. Cuba rejects these claims, saying Gross was a “mercenary” working on a program paid for by Washington that aimed to bring down Cuba’s revolutionary system.

U.S. officials say that no rapprochement is possible while Gross remains jailed. Cuba, however, has presented Gross as evidence of U.S. intentions to unleash a “cyberwar” to destabilize the island.

There have been no diplomatic relations between the countries since the 1960s and the United States maintains economic and financial sanctions on the island.

Carter visited Cuba in May 2002 on a six-day tour during which he met with then-President Fidel Castro and criticized both Washington’s embargo and the lack of political plurality on the island.

During his administration, Cuba-US relations warmed briefly, with short-lived direct flights between Miami and Havana and the opening of interests sections that provide some contact in lieu of embassies. But that short honeymoon ended with a refugee crisis that saw about 125,000 Cubans flee to the United States from the Mariel port west of Havana.

(© 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (13)
  1. rosa benitez says:

    what a shame, we are spending money saving the people of libya from a dictator of 42 years,, and we go to cuba to shake hands with a dictator of 52 years. SHAME, SHAME, SHAME!!!

    1. Carol says:

      You got that right and just maybe if could get rid of him permanently along with his brother maybe we would get rid of the illegals we have here that are killing us here is so many ways.

    2. Sgt. Benjamin Suarez Jr.US Army says:

      Wow!! Rosa benitez I couldn’t agree more. But since I’m a little older now I can remember as far when the US sent troops to fight against communist troops 10,000 miles east from the San Francisco coast and disregard totally the poison being brought by the Castro brothers to Latin-American countries here in this hemisphere during that era the 1960s

  2. BVC says:


  3. Carol says:

    This man is an idiot God knows what secrets he might give away for a price we will never know about and that scares the h—- out of me.

  4. Rich Haney says:

    It is amazing how the Cuban exile zealots and their sycophants in Miami react to anything positive regarding Cuba, such as the impending visit of President Carter. One positive out of this might be the release of Mr. Gross but, of course, the Miami zealots hope that doesn’t happen because it would be one less thing for them to harrangue Cuba about. When President Clinton sought to normalize relations with Cuba the Miami zealots unleased the Brothers to the Rescue planes on the island, successfully provoking a reaction from Cuba that resulted in Clinton signing the hateful (to America, to America’s friends, and to Cubans) Helms-Burton Act. I wonder what the Miami zealots, in conjunction with a few island dissidents, are cooking up to dampen any positives (for the Cuban people and Americans like Mr. Gross) that might result from Carter’s visit. Perhaps even in Miami CBS4 could report such things fairly.

    1. MiamiMex says:

      With due respect, the 50 year experiment of holding citizens hostage and calling it a “revolution” has not worked. The Castro brothers should have their riches returned to the people – never has the balance if power been so unfair.

    2. rosa benitez says:

      Maybe you should spend a couple of weeks in cuba, without $$$$, like the cuban people do and learn how they have no freedom of speach, or any kind of freedom at all, maybe you will understand the Cuban exiles, I understand that ignorance motivates people to talk or write nonsense, so I excuse you. however I have a question for you; would you want to have a president in the U.S. for 52 years without any other choice?. if not, would you like to be called foolish names such as sycophats, for wanting nothing but freedom?. In spite of what you and others like you call us, we will be FREE.

      1. Sam says:

        I am not sure about President Carter visiting Cuba and I truly do feel sorry for the oppression that is over there. However we have way too much to worry about in the US like taxes and unemployment. I know we have to have our leaders visit foreign countries to keep up diplomacy, but I am kind of against OUR country helping anyone else until we help ourselves. How is it we worry about others and we still have a high rate of unemployment. If we want to be successful as a country, then we need to help ourselves before we can help anyone else. I hate to say it but before we worry about Cuba lets bring our troops home from afghan and other mid east countries that hate or despise us. I think it’s ironic how Cubans float to the U.S and they get let in now let a hation try this same thing and they get turned away. I am against anyone or any group who wishes to come to our country for freedom or any or type of oppression. Do we need to make thing better between cuba and the U.S? yes we do. There is a difference in strengthening the ties vs taking on a country of woes. We just cannot afford to. To ma a long story short, until we get our act together here we need to look away from the rest of the world and help our own.

    3. Ray Gutierrez says:

      I very respectfully disagree. Cubans in the US are not Zealots. Zealots always refer to Religious Fanatics, so please re-phrase. As a matter of fact, Cubans are the the wealthiest Latino Group in the US. They are also the Hispanic Group that owns more independent private businesses. So Zealots is very discriminatory.
      Cubans want freedom for the island, but want it in the proper terms. Fidel has been in power for over 50 years and has butchered and imprisoned its citizens, simply to maintain the choke hold that keeps him in business. Cubans are lacking food, Fidel eats lobster. Cubans are lacking basic freedoms, Fidel’s family sky in The Swiss Alps, Cubans have to travel on foot or broken down buses, Fidel and his family just purchased a fleet of Mercedes 600 autos. Fidel just paid 10 thousand dollars for a personal dentist chair in leather, Cubans are thrown into old hangars to die, for lack of medicine.
      So when the worst president of the US, with his extreme Leftist Views goes to Cuba, it does nothing for the real problem…The People.
      The US needs to push for free Democratic elections and allow Cuba to be the jewel of the Caribbean once again.

    4. Sgt. Benjamin Suarez Jr. says:

      Hey Rich, I’m so glad that you can write what you feel in this wonderful country.
      Try to do that in Cuba my friend

  5. Philip Scharfy says:

    The communist dictator snaps his fingers and the weanyish peanut farmer comes a crawlin.

    His master’s voice

  6. TR says:


    The “great” Jimmy Carter … the one who’s ignorance assisted the Ayatollah Kohmen’s “freedom’ fighters in creating the terrorist nation of IRAN …

    Is going to visit Castro … who “played” the “great” John F. Kennedy into believing that he was a “freedom” fighter for democracy … only to betray the Cuban and American people …

    As a representatiive of Obama I am sure that the “great” Jmmy has been instructed by the “great” Obama on just how low to bow down to Castro …

    Perhaps the “great” Obama has sent the “great” Jimmy to kiss Castros feet … as he is too busy being “played” by the Muslim Brotherhood … and creating new
    terrorist nations in Tunisia, Egypt, & Libya …

    Thank “great” Jimmy for showing the “great” Obama the way …

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