This week Havana has seen a flurry of visits by U.S. officials. The US Trade Representative Michael Froman is in Havana this week on an official visit from October 5th to the 8th. He has been scheduled to meet with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez and Foreign Trade and Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca. It was reported by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) that Ambassador Froman is accompanied by Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Matthew Vogel.
Ambassador Froman is the 8th member of President Barack Obama’s government to visit the Cuba since December 2014. Since then, there have been many trade delegations and visits by state officials and business people all eager to advance trade with Cuba.
Josefina Vidal, Director General of the Department of the United States at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Cuba, has said that seven meetings will take place between officials of both government before the end of the year.
Not much has been said about Ambassador Froman’s visit. With American farmers and the business community eager to enter the Cuban market and do business with Cuba, one can only hope these bilateral meetings between the officials of both governments will focus on trade with Cuba and the serious problems of banking and credit. It’s of mutual interest that solutions be found to removing the barriers against Cuba, the closest and most logical market for the U.S. Until this occurs, Cuba continues to build relations globally and international competitors are signing on the dotted line.
Other U.S. officials visiting Cuba include Dr. Jill Biden and the Louisiana trade delegation. Dr. Jill Biden is visiting the cities of Havana and Camaguey from October 6th to the 9th, for a variety of activities including watching the U.S. Cuba friendly football/soccer game, trying out social media at a Wifi hotspot and visiting a teachers college.
The Louisiana trade mission led by Governor John Bel Edwards leaves Havana today, the press reporting Governor Edwards and the Cuban government had signed “memorandums of understanding” for future business once the embargo is lifted.