Kerry lifts hold on some U.S. funds for Cuba

The Miami HeraldJuly 29, 2011 

Sen. John Kerry officially lifted his "hold" on a $20 million for U.S. programs to promote democracy in Cuba on Thursday after a day-long brouhaha over the funds and Havana's possible release of Alan Gross, a U.S. government subcontractor jailed in Cuba.

Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont still has a separate hold on part of the funds, but three Capitol Hill staffers said his concerns could be quickly resolved by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Kerry spokesman Frederick Jones, in an email to El Nuevo Herald Thursday afternoon, wrote that the chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations “lifted the hold on the Cuba funds” after State and USAID officials agreed to a “thorough review of the programs.”

There was no explanation for the reports by Capitol Hill staffers throughout Thursday that the Massachusetts Democrat had lifted his hold Wednesday then put it back on, saying he wanted to wait because freeing the funds now might anger Cuba and delay its possible release of Gross.

Sen. Bob Menendez, a Cuban-American Democrat from New Jersey who favors releasing the money, at one point was considering blocking Senate action on all U.S. ambassadorial nominations until Kerry cancelled his block, the staffers added.

To read the complete article, visit

McClatchy Washington Bureau is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service