Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday (March 29) that he discussed with Cuban officials the case of U.S. aid worker Alan Gross, who was sentenced on March 12 to 15 years in prison for crimes against the Cuban state. Carter, who arrived Monday in Cuba for a three-day trip, however, clarified he is not in the country to bring Gross home.
“I am not here to take him out of the country,” Carter was quoted by The Associated Press as saying.
“We are here to visit the Cubans, the heads of government and private citizens. It is a great pleasure for us to return to Havana,” Carter said. “I hope we can contribute to better relations between the two countries.”
The U.S. government has urged Carter to lobby for Gross’ release.
Gross, who has been detained since December 2009, was found guilty of working on a U.S. Agency for International Development-funded “subversive” program, according to a Cuban court.