The Rev. Jesse Jackson began a Christmas visit to Cuba Friday, saying he would raise human rights issues with President Fidel Castro but also calling for U.S. policy toward the communist-ruled Caribbean island to become one of "aggressive constructive engagement."

Jackson, who visited Cuba in 1984, said he would be meeting government officials, Protestant church leaders and human rights activists."We want to spend some time to observe the impact of economic reforms, of political reforms, the state of human rights, the impact of the (U.S. economic) embargo on Cuba and U.S.-Cuba relations," Jackson told reporters after a visit to a neighborhood health clinic in Havana.

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On relations with the United States, marked by the 31-year embargo, Jackson did not specifically say the trade ban should be lifted. But suggested as much, and warned that punishing Cuba could have disastrous effects.

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