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US legislators favour US-Cuba dialogue on equal footing
Published on May 7, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

HAVANA, Cuba (ACN) -- Four US lawmakers agreed in Havana on Monday that there are favourable conditions for direct and unconditional dialogue between Havana and Washington to normalize bilateral relations.

The four US legislators visiting Cuba are democrats Barbara Lee and Sam Farr from California, Emanuel Cleaver from Missouri and Gregory W. Meeks from New York.

In a press conference at Havana's Saratoga Hotel, the US lawmakers said that their visit to Cuba was aimed at enabling possible negotiations to achieve the release of US citizen Alan Gross, who is jailed in Cuba, and of the three Cubans held in US prisons since 1998.

Gross, a contractor with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), was arrested, tried and convicted in 2009 for having violated the Cuban laws after he tried to introduce a project financed by Washington, which consisted in the setting up of covert and illegal communication systems based on non-commercial technology.

Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and Antonio Guerrero, members of the group known as the Cuban Five, have been incarcerated in US jails for having monitored Miami-based organizations that planned terrorist actions against Cuba.

Last April 9, Cuba reiterated its willingness to find an acceptable solution for the two cases, which takes into account the humanitarian concern about Gross and also about the three Cubans.

US legislator Barbara Lee said that they are trying to use the experience of other visits and contacts with the reality in Cuban to boost the dialogue between Havana and Washington from their own positions as lawmakers.

She said that they would like to advance the elimination of US travel restrictions to Cuba and the lifting of the US embargo. Meanwhile, Cleaver criticized the recent Twitter-like program launched by Washington against Cuba known as Zunzuneo and the inclusion of the island on the blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism.
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