Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter is on a three-day unofficial visit to Cuba where there are some expectations he may discuss the case of a jailed American contractor.
Cuba’s foreign minister, Bruno Rodríguez, welcomed the 86-year-old Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, when they arrived Monday at Havana’s airport.
The head of the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba, Jonathan Farrar, also was there to greet the former president.
Carter’s visit is a private trip under the auspices of his nonprofit organization, the Carter Center. The Cuban government invited him to learn about the Communist nation’s new economic policies, and he is scheduled to meet with Cuban President Raúl Castro before leaving Wednesday.
The former U.S. president could also take up the case of Alan Gross, the American contractor recently sentenced to 15 years in a Cuban prison.
Cuban authorities accused Gross of subversive work by giving dissident groups satellite communications equipment for Internet access. Gross said he was trying to improve Internet service to members of Cuba’s small Jewish community. The United States has repeatedly called for his release.
In addition, the former president will meet with Havana’s Jewish leaders and Catholic Cardinal Jaime Ortega, who last year helped win the release of most of the island’s political prisoners.