Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 19, 2014

Congressional Visit to U.S. Citizen Imprisoned in Cuba

Four members of Congress traveled recently to Cuba to visit a U.S. citizen imprisoned since December 2009 in Cuba, a lost closer to home than Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s location.

The four members of Congress met with Alan Gross, 65, at a military hospital where he is currently serving a 15 year sentence. Gross was imprisoned in December 2009 for working against the government. The meeting was arranged by the Cuban Foreign Ministry.

In an interview with NBC, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., stated she thought Gross had lost a lot of weight and is desperate. Lee has visited Gross three times in the last four and a half years.

Gross was a subcontractor for the State Department’s Agency for International Development, working in Havana giving out communications equipment to Jewish groups as part of a democracy project. Gross had been providing cell phones, personal computers, and networking devices.

The May 3-6 trip was paid for by the Center for Democracy in the Americas, not the U.S. government. The post-travel reports by the members included those from Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., ($1,810), Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., ($2,148), Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., ($1,875), and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., (no report filed yet).

The members also met with ambassadors to Cuba from the European Union, Britain, the Netherlands and Norway. Other meetings included those with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez; Tom Palaia, Political Chief of the U.S. Interests Section; and Dan King, acting Consul General at the Chief of Mission Residence; among others.

Rep. Lee has traveled to Cuba numerous times and was instrumental in obtaining approval of the Oakland airport to hose flights to Cuba. Rep. Farr, and Rep. Meeks have traveled to Cuba several times. All have urged President Obama to permit more individuals to travel to Cuba.

To search detailed money-in-politics databases, visit Political MoneyLine.

  • HumbertoCapiro

    he facts are that Barbara Lee
    went to Cuba and spoke with the families of the “Cuban 5″!! She says the the US
    should have talks with the Castro “government” without “pre-conditions”! But not
    only have the Castro brothers already set the conditions by mentioning a trade
    of Alan Gross for the three remaining member of The Cuban 5 Spies, but she has
    also set the same “pre-condition”

    WIKILEAKS DOCUMENT: CODEL LEE VISIT TO CUBA –
    2009 April 7, 20:05 (Tuesday)

    SUMMARY: A CODEL led by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) visited Cuba April
    3 – 7. The CODEL met with GOC officials including former President Fidel Castro,
    President Raul Castro, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, National Assembly
    President Ricardo Alarcon, and with the wives of the 5 Cuban agents currently
    incarcerated in the U.S.

    http://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09HAVANA207_a.html

    • sharondika

      Why should she not speak to the families, the same families who have been denied any visits to their loved ones currently incarcerated in the USA? Why are they being denied these visits? Can this be considered Cruel and Unjust punishment? If you were in prison in Cuba wouldn’t you want to see your lover[s]? Dear!

      • HumbertoCapiro

        WHY DID THE CASTRO “GOVERNMENT” NOT ALLOW ALAN GROSS TO VISIT HIS MOTHER WHILE THE BAD OLD USA DID ALLOW ONE OF THE CUBAN 5 TO DO JUST THAT DEAR?
        MIAMI HERALD: The plight of Alan Gross
        It says a lot about this country’s ideals that when a Cuban spy serving
        his sentence in a halfway house sought permission to visit his ailing
        mother in Cuba, Washington said, “Yes.” When Alan Gross made a similar
        request, Raúl Castro said, “No.” I don’t have any doubt that, if the
        Cuban spy had not been permitted to go to Cuba, President Obama would
        have been blamed, as he is now being blamed for Raúl Castro’s decision
        not set Gross free.
        http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/05/08/4105886/the-plight-of-alan-gross.html

        • sharondika

          Because he was not In Prison but out on parole. Gross’ mother needs to go to Cuba to see here son who is still serving his prison sentence. The other Cuban’s in prison in the US have been denied visits by their immediate families. Big difference my Dear! But I do not expect someone with your narrow mind to understand the difference.

    • HumbertoCapiro

      MY POINT IS THAT Barbara Lee HAS AN AGENDA PRIOR TO THIS VISIT! AN FYI, THE CUBAN 5 WIVES HAVE HAD FAMILY VISITS! AND WHY DID THE CASTRO “GOVERNMENT” NOW ALLOW ALAN GROSS TO VISIT HIS DAUGHTER AND MOTHER WITH CANCER?
      THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Q&A: Love, lies and being married to one of the ‘Cuban Five’- By Sonia Verma. Havana— Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2011
      This week, Cuba’s foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said his country wanted to re-establish relations with the United States. However, he insisted President Barack Obama first release five Cubans convicted of espionage in 2001 and currently serving out lengthy sentences in a Miami jail, calling their continued imprisonment “inhumane.” In Cuba, the “Cuban Five” are viewed as national heroes, protecting their country by gathering information about terrorist groups in the United States. In Havana, Sonia Verma spoke to one of their wives, Elizabeth Palmeiro, who had just returned from a prison visit with her husband, Ramón Labañino, who is serving out a 30-year sentence.

      Q: When is the last time you spoke to your husband?
      A: I just came from visiting him in Miami prison with our daughters, Laura and Elisabeth.

      Q: How was he?
      A: Psychologically he’s optimistic that at any moment he will be released. Physically, he’s getting old in prison. He’s having some trouble but he doesn’t want to talk about this. He was happy to see our daughters so mature.

      Q: I understand there is going to be a new appeal in his case?
      A: We know now that some journalists were on the payroll of the government of the United States. Those journalists were writing articles during the time of the trial, before and after the trial, trying to prejudice this jury. The Cuban Five don’t call themselves terrorists; they call themselves democratic freedom fighters.

      http://www.cubadiplomatica.cu/canada/EN/5Heroes/SolidaritywiththeFIVE/tabid/3225/ctl/Details/mid/5277/ItemID/7498/Default.aspx

  • Deepak Into

    Hussein Obama is seriously delusional.

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