Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    Udall, Flake Call for “Modernizing” Relations with Cuba

    Udall, Flake Call for “Modernizing” Relations with Cuba
    Posted on Nov 13, 2014by Steve Terrell

    U.S. Sens. Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat and Jeff Flake, an Arizona
    Republican, are calling to open up relationships between the U.S. and
    Cuba, effectively breaking a decades-old embargo against the communist
    Caribbean island.
    According to a joint news release, this came after a three-day Senate
    Foreign Relations Committee trip to Cuba.
    In the release, Udall said:
    “New Mexicans are anxious to meet and work with Cubans, and the time is
    right to rebuild business and cultural ties between the United States
    and Cuba. The Cuban regime is antidemocratic and has many flaws, but our
    current policy has proven ineffective and has primarily served to
    isolate the people of Cuba. It’s time for a 21st century approach that
    opens up opportunities for New Mexicans and other American interests.
    … I urge the Obama administration to act by relaxing travel
    restrictions and working with the telecommunications industry to improve
    the ability for the people of the world to communicate with Cuba.”
    Flake was quoted saying:
    “My recent trip to Cuba has only reconfirmed the necessity of
    modernizing our failed policy toward the island. While the significance
    of Cuba’s recent economic changes remains to be seen, there is now a
    burgeoning small-business community there, much of which is funded by
    remittances from the United States. Rather than continuing to provide
    the regime an all-too-convenient scapegoat and wasting money on
    boondoggle aid programs, it’s time to take commonsense steps to support
    these entrepreneurs, expand the participation of U.S. businesses in the
    Cuban economy, and lift the ban on non-Cuban American U.S. citizens
    travelling to the island.”
    (Come on guys, the embargo’s only been going for 50-some years. Give it
    a chance!)
    The committee got to visit with Alan Gross, an American who has been
    held in a Cuban jail since 2009. Both Udall and Flake mentioned his
    plight in the joint press release. Gross was convicted on charges of
    smuggling banned communications equipment to Cuba. He is serving a
    15-year sentence.
    “We’ll continue working as members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations
    Committee to push for the release of Alan Gross and continued steps to
    normalize relations with Cuba,” Udall said.

    Source: Udall, Flake Call for “Modernizing” Relations with Cuba – The
    Santa Fe New Mexican: Politics –
    http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/blogs/politics/udall-flake-call-for-modernizing-relations-with-cuba/article_65c7fc00-6b8e-11e4-9c98-3fb55f162065.html