The Center for Democracy in the Americas helped plan Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s trade mission to Cuba.
We joined the Governor on the trip, which took place from January 3-6, 2016, along with First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, and three members of his cabinet: the Secretaries of Agriculture and Forestry, Technology, and Health and Human Resources. In addition, the Governor included a dozen Virginia businessmen, and representatives from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and Virginia Commonwealth University in the delegation. In Havana, Governor McAuliffe and delegation members met with First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (MINREX) Marcelino Medina, Cuban Minister of Trade and Foreign Investment (MINCEX) Rodrigo Malmierca, Council of Ministers Vice President Ricardo Cabrisas Ruiz, and Cardinal Jaime Ortega of Cuba’s Catholic Church.
The Governor’s decision to visit Cuba produced many of the results he was looking for: Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Havana signed a Memorandum of Understanding to encourage academic exchange programs and research collaboration. The Virginia Port Authority also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Cuba’s National Port Authority to assess commercial opportunities between the Port of Virginia and Cuba’s Port of Mariel. On his return, Governor McAuliffe noted “…2016 needs to be the year that we move our relationship forward, that we end this embargo, and we do the right thing for the citizens of the United States of America and the citizens of Cuba.”