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US Lawmakers Visit Cuba

A delegation of U.S. lawmakers is in Cuba to gauge the island's economic changes and discuss the status of a jailed American.

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy is leading the group of five senators and two House of Representatives members on a three-day visit to the communist nation.

Senator Leahy led a similar delegation a year ago, when they met Cuban President Raul Castro and other high-ranking officials.

They also visited Alan Gross, an American jailed since 2009 for illegally distributing communications equipment on the island while on a U.S.-funded democracy-building program. He is serving a 15-year sentence.

The group plans to meet with Gross, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez and perhaps President Castro.

Leahy said the aim of the visit is to work toward better relations between the two countries. He said many Americans agree decades-old U.S. policy is out of date.

The lawmakers also hope to observe the economic changes instituted by Raul Castro, such as the legalization of limited private businesses, a newly emerging real estate market and the elimination of travel restrictions for most Cubans.

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