Alan Gross leads movement to strengthen relations between Cuba and the US / 14ymedio

Alan Gross on the plane returning him to the US after his five years in a Cuban prison (CC)
Alan Gross on the plane returning him to the US after his five years in a Cuban prison (CC)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, 5 May 2015 (With information from agencies) – Alan Gross, the former US contractor who imprisoned in Cuba for five years for espionage until last December, is heading up a movement created to push for a closer relationship with the Island.

The “New Cuba” mission is pressuring the United States Congress to put an end to the travel restrictions on Americans who want to visit the Island, as well as to expand commercial relationships, according to its organizers.

This Monday Gross participated in a presentation in Miami Beach attended by members of the large Cuban community in south Florida, both Democrats and Republicans. The committee has the support of companies hoping to do business in Cuba. “We want to send a strong message to all candidates for Congress. There is a bipartisan push for further changes in policy,” added Luis Miranda, a political strategist and former White House spokesperson who is consulting with the committee.

The “New Cuba” movement defies the power of the pressure long-exercised by more politically radical Cuban-Americans, led by the US-Cuba Democracy PAC, which has raised more than $4 million since 2004.

Alan Gross was released as part of the agreement between the US and Cuba announced on December 17 to restore diplomatic relations and he now wants to contribute to the restoration of normalization between the two countries, according to his lawyer, Scott Gilbert. “Alan supports president Barack Obama’s initiative 100 percent and he believes that open travel and trade between our countries is the best thing for the people of Cuba and the people of our country,” he added.

On Tuesday, US Senator Marco Rubio, who aspires to be the presidential candidate of his party for the 2016 elections and who and opposes Obama’s policy towards Cuba, will chair a hearing on US Department of State’s budget, which is expected to focus on Cuba.