US President Barack Obama may visit Cuba in 2016
HAVANA, Cuba (ACN) -- US President Barack Obama is expected to meet an extensive international agenda this year including visits to European and Asian nations, as well as Colombia and Peru, with the possibility of also visiting Cuba.
Obama’s visit to Peru has been confirmed for November to attend the Asia-Pacific Cooperation Forum, said national security advisor Benjamin Rhodes, but he could still make an extra visit to Latin America in March that could include a trip to Havana.
According to Rhodes, Obama will work to strengthen the US position in the Americas, including the normalization of relations with Cuba.
Meanwhile, the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, is paying a three-day visit to Cuba, heading a political and commercial mission aimed at finding ways to expand economic and commercial relations.
Boosting the export of agricultural products from Virginia to the island, promoting closer links in maritime transportation, in higher education and culture are some of the topics on the agenda of the US governor, who arrived in Havana on Sunday.
Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe heads a mission to Cuba
McAuliffe was due to meet with Cuban foreign trade and investment minister Rodrigo Malmierca and open a business forum. He will also tour the special development zone at Mariel, among other activities.
Before departing for Cuba, the governor said that the current mission will further enhance Virginia’s position by expanding its agricultural exports and that he expected to open the doors to future collaboration in other sectors.
McAuliffe is accompanied by the secretaries of agriculture, Todd Haymore; health and human resources, William Hazel; technology, Karen Jackson, and by representatives of the Virginia Commonwealth University and other local institutions, according to a news release by his office in Virginia.
Virginia, with a population of some eight million people, has been leader in maintaining relations with Havana since the US Congress approved the export of food to Cuba in 2000.
According to Haymore, US agricultural sales to Cuba reached about $400 million over the past ten years, including $25 million in 2015.
According to a news release, McAuliffe will reiterate that the US Congress must take action to lift the obstacles to bilateral commercial relations. He has previously demanded the lifting of the US economic, commercial and financial embargo of Cuba, since he considers that lifting the US unilateral policy will create jobs and open economic opportunities for Virginia-based companies, as well as for Cuban products that may be imported into the US.