SENATORS: NO MORE CUBA AID UNTIL GROSS IS FREE
Two U.S. senators who have long pushed to ease restrictions on trade with Cuba say they have put their advocacy on hold in hopes of pressuring Havana to free jailed Maryland government subcontractor Alan Gross.
The mid-June decisions by Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) underlined how the case of Gross, serving a 15-year jail term, has become a persistent roadblock in almost any attempt to warm up U.S.-Cuba relations.
“I have tried to change the trading relationship with Cuba. I am taking a hiatus from that effort,” Moran told The Hill. “I hope that this will put pressure on Cuba to release him.”
Durbin, who as the Senate majority whip is the second-highest ranking Democrat in the chamber, declared that his meeting with 62-year-old Gross in his Havana cell this spring convinced him that more needs to be done to free him.
Durbin has been an advocate of using trade to open up closed societies like Cuba, and along with Moran has submitted several legislative proposals over the years to ease the U.S. embargo.
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