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January 17, 2015

New York Governor Cuomo to visit Cuba

New York - The office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed on Saturday that he will lead one of the first trade missions to Cuba from the United States since travel and trade restrictions on the Caribbean island were scaled back last month.

The trip will make Cuomo one of the first high-profile U.S. politicians to visit the Communist-ruled island since the announcement of the policy shift in December. The Democratic governor plans to promote an initiative to attract foreign investment to New York state, spokeswoman Melissa DeRosa said. 

Cuomo will be following on the trail of Vermont Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, who is leading four senators and two representatives, all Democrats, on the first congressional mission to Cuba since President Obama indicated Washington will normalize ties with its former Cold War foe. The mission aims to determine how the Cuban government views the normalization process and convey what the United States expects. 

While the 54-year-old embargo against Cuba can only be lifted by the U.S. Congress, high-level discussions are underway to expand U.S. travel, trade, and financial activities. 

Cuban President Raul Castro has welcomed the recent turn in U.S. policy, however he has stated that Havana will not abandon single-party rule or state control of the economy. 

Governor Cuomo's upcoming trip to Cuba, part of the Global NY Initiative, figures to be one of several he will take to promote New York in the coming term.