Carter Will Speak To Cubans On State-Run Television

July 7, 2008 - 8:11 PM

(CNSNews.com) - Former President Jimmy Carter will be allowed to address the Cuban people with a 20-minute speech on state run television next Tuesday evening, according to a tentative schedule released by the Carter's presidential center on Wednesday.

Center officials did not say what the subject of the former president's speech would be, but they did note that Cuban leader Fidel Castro gave the former president permission to talk to large groups of Cubans and issue any criticisms he wants.

The former president will give his speech at the University of Havana's Aula Magna auditorium

Carter and his wife Rosalynn are leaving for Cuba on Sunday, and Castro will greet them on their arrival at Havana's Jose Marti airport.

According to his itinerary, Carter will take a "walking visit" of Old Havana, then meet with Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque and later, with the head of the US Interests Section. He'll end the day by meeting with Castro.

On Monday, Carter will tour a "Biotech Institute" in Havana, have lunch with Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage Davila, and then tour a government school for social workers and a government-run medical school.

While at the medical school, Carter is expected to meet with Cuban Health Minister Carlos Dotres.

On Tuesday, the former president is scheduled to visit what the Castro government called an "AIDS sanitorium" called "Los Cocos" near Havana. He'll also stop by a government agricultural production cooperative and attend a meeting with Cuban Minister of Agriculture Alfredo Jordan.

After the meeting, Carter is to have a private lunch with some Cuban farmers before traveling to the University of Havana and giving his television address on Tuesday night.

Wednesday's schedule has more tours of government-run schools, a lunch with Cuban Parliament President Ricardo Alarcon, who is known in Cuba as the "point man" for U.S.-Cuba relations.

Also on Wednesday, Carter is supposed to meet with members of the National Council of Churches, the group that was a key factor in getting Elian Gonzalez returned to Cuba after a lengthy court battle in the United States.

Castro is hosting a Wednesday night dinner in Havana in Carter's honor.

On Thursday, Carter will meet with human rights and religious leaders, then hold a press conference on Friday morning before departing Cuba later that day.

Accompanying the former president will be his wife Rosalynn, his son Chip, and several officials from the Carter Center and Emory University in Atlanta.

Carter will be the first president either in or out of office to visit Cuba since Fidel Castro took over in 1959. The U.S. Treasury Department gave Carter permission to travel to Cuba last month, three months after Castro issued a formal invitation.

E-mail a news tip to Jim Burns.

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