Udall Statement on Relations with Cuba and Release of Alan Gross
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Tom Udall released a statement today on the president's announcement that he has taken steps to normalize relations with the country of Cuba and has secured the release of American prisoner Alan Gross, who had been held in a Cuban jail since 2009. In November, Udall traveled to Cuba with Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) where they met with Cuban officials as well as religious and business leaders to discuss the impacts of the embargo and travel restrictions on American and Cuban families. Udall also visited Alan Gross in prison and expressed optimism that he would be released soon. Below is Udall's statement:
"I am happy for Alan Gross and his family today, and we welcome him home after 5 years of incarceration in Cuba. I applaud the president in his efforts to return him to his family and for taking steps to normalize relations with Cuba. Now is the time to end the failed embargo against Cuba and to take steps to normalize relations. This is a sea change as our nation is finally embarking on a 21st century approach with Cuba, one that will open opportunities for New Mexicans and other American interests in Cuba. American citizens are the best diplomats of our values and I hope their future interactions shine through with the Cuban people. It is time to act, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the Obama administration, to build upon this announcement and move forward to lift the embargo on Cuba, which has only served to isolate the Cuban people and limit American opportunity."