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Havana - Official: Cuba Ready To Talk About Gross Case

Published on: May 11, 2012 07:56 AM
By: Read full article at CBS News
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In htis file photo: Rabbi Arthur Schneier meets with American serving fifteen years in Cuban prison and makes an interfaith humanitarian appeal to government for the release of Alan Gross, The Rabbi visited with Gross on the eve of Purim, at a Military hospital for an hour and a half and presented him with a tallit (prayer shawl), tefillin (phylacteries), the biblical Book of Esther, and hamantaschen (holiday pastries).In htis file photo: Rabbi Arthur Schneier meets with American serving fifteen years in Cuban prison and makes an interfaith humanitarian appeal to government for the release of Alan Gross, The Rabbi visited with Gross on the eve of Purim, at a Military hospital for an hour and a half and presented him with a tallit (prayer shawl), tefillin (phylacteries), the biblical Book of Esther, and hamantaschen (holiday pastries).

Havana - The Cuban government got a rare opportunity to put its position on a U.S. contractor jailed in Havana and on hostile U.S.-Cuba relations before an American audience Thursday when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer interviewed a top Foreign Ministry official.

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Josefina Vidal, via satellite from Havana, said that while Cuba is ready to dialogue with the U.S. about the case of Alan Gross they are not advancing any formula, such as a prisoner swap. Instead, the head of the Cuban Foreign Ministry’s North America Division declared Havana wants to sit down at the negotiating table with Washington to discuss all outstanding issues in an effort to establish normal relations.

Vidal says that the U.S. demand that Cuba release Gross before it takes any steps to improve relations with the island is just a “pretext” not to do so.

The State Department reacted sharply, saying Vidal’s statements only reinforce the U.S. belief that Gross is being held hostage and that there is no justification for his imprisonment.

Vidal was echoing the position laid out in an official letter sent to Blitzer earlier this week saying Havana has offered to hold a “dialogue to find a humanitarian solution…on a reciprocal basis” to the case of Alan Gross, sentenced to 15 years on charges of trying to subvert the government.

That offer provoked speculation that the Cubans were holding out to swap Gross for five Cuban imprisoned in the U.S. on spying charges for nearly 14 years. Cuba says the men were only seeking information that would help prevent terrorist actions against the island and not U.S. government secrets.


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1

 May 11, 2012 at 09:43 AM blackandwhite Says:

Sounds like there's room for encouragement. I hope the State Department can construct a long-term strategy to sit down with Cuba.

2

 May 11, 2012 at 10:01 AM BuckyinWisconsin Says:

May he be freed soon.

3

 May 11, 2012 at 03:11 PM ShmuelG Says:

"Vidal says that the U.S. demand that Cuba release Gross before it takes any steps to improve relations with the island is just a “pretext” not to do so."

Of course. These rashoyim want to trade him for something big. The left, in any incarnation, has no moral constraints.

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