Rev. Jesse Jackson Arrives In Cuba On Mission Of Reconciliation

Posted: Updated:
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 24: BOOK SIGNING -- The Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and his son Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. during the reading and book signing of the co-authors new book 'It's About The Money' at the Martin Luther King Memorial Library in Washington D.C. (Photo by Douglas Graham/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images) | Getty

HAVANA, Sept 27 (Reuters) - U.S. civil rights activist Jesse Jackson arrived in Cuba on Friday where he said he hoped to facilitate improved relations with the United States and see imprisoned U.S. contractor Alan Gross.

Jackson is on a private visit to the communist-run island being hosted by the Roman Catholic Church.

He has visited Cuba a number of times and met with former President Fidel Castro.

"The church is concerned about peace ... and Cuba's relations with the United States and the rest of the Caribbean. I hope we can facilitate that," he said.

Asked if he would meet with Gross, Jackson said, "I don't know, but I would like to."

Gross has been jailed in Cuba since December 2009 in a case that has put the brakes on a brief improvement in long-hostile U.S.-Cuba relations.

In a March 2011 trial, Gross was sentenced to 15 years in prison for installing internet networks for Jewish groups under a secretive U.S. program the Cuban government considers subversive.

The United States insists Gross was merely helping the local population get connected as part of a democracy-building project.

"I appeal to His Excellency President Raul Castro to release Mr. Alan P. Gross on humanitarian grounds," Jackson said in an open letter to Castro in March 2011.

Jackson told reporters before entering Havana's Hotel Nacional that he had other items on his agenda.

He was in Colombia earlier this month where he urged Colombia's FARC rebels to free former U.S. Marine Kevin Scott Sutay, whom they kidnapped in June.

Cuba is hosting peace talks between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and more than 30 of the guerrilla organization's commanders are in Havana.

A Cuban source said Jackson may meet with some of them while in Cuba. (Reporting by Marc Frank; Editing by Tom Brown and Peter Cooney)

Related on HuffPost:

50th Cuban Missile Crisis Anniversary
Share this
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Jesse Jackson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. | Rainbow PUSH Coalition

Jesse Jackson Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story -

Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (RevJJackson) on Twitter

Jesse Jackson Jr sentenced - Chicago Tribune

Jesse Jackson News Updates and Coverage - Chicago Tribune

Jesse Jackson - Discover the Networks

Jesse Jackson - Huffington Post

The Pilgrimage Of Jesse Jackson | FRONTLINE | PBS

Jesse Jackson News - The New York Times

Jesse Jackson arrives in Cuba on mission of reconciliation

'Outrageous greed': Jesse Jackson decries Vodafone's sale of Verizon Wireless ...

High School Football Coach Still No. 1 For Rev. Jesse Jackson

Jesse Jackson on Ted Cruz: He's a 'clown' to Obama's 'wise man'

Jesse Jackson defends Obama's job performance

Feds halt Jackson Jr. auction

Will Jesse Jackson Jr.'s personal items make the cut in Chicago's archives?

Marshals halt Jesse Jackson Jr. auction

Rev. Jesse Jackson Challenges the Automotive Industry to Even the Playing ...

Marshals auction Jesse Jackson Jr. furs, pics