Cuba

Pelosi heads congressional democratic delegation in Cuba

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, arrives at a hotel in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. The House Democratic leader arrived in Havana with a group of eight Democratic representatives for a series of meeting with U.S. diplomats, Cuban government officials and private citizens about U.S. and Cuban relations in wake of the Dec. 17 announcement by both countries that they would move to restore full relations.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, arrives at a hotel in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. The House Democratic leader arrived in Havana with a group of eight Democratic representatives for a series of meeting with U.S. diplomats, Cuban government officials and private citizens about U.S. and Cuban relations in wake of the Dec. 17 announcement by both countries that they would move to restore full relations. AP

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi landed Tuesday in Cuba as head of a congressional delegation.

The delegation will meet with Cuban government officials, Cardinal Jaime Ortega and Alamino, as well as local community leaders and US officials, who operate within the United States Interests Section, according to a statement.

“This delegation will work to advance relations between the United States and Cuba and will be based on the work carried out by many in Congress during the past few years, especially in regards to agriculture and commerce,” Pelosi said.

The Democratic representative for California highlighted that the delegation traveled “in friendship."

In early February, U.S. government officials told the AP that their Cuban counterparts had informed them that visits from legislators wouldn’t be allowed until April 15.

This is the first official visit made by a House of Representatives delegation since the historic Dec. 17 announcement about renewing diplomatic relations, although someone in Congress have traveled to Cuba since that date.

Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Mark Warner of Virginia and Claire McCaskill of Missouri left for their first trip to Cuba last weekend hoping to push a law proposal created by Klobuchar seeking to lift the embargo from the U.S. to Cuba.

“We have a historic opportunity to modernize the relationship that our country has with Cuba and it’s a moment that we must take advantage of,” Klobuchar said in a statement released Tuesday.

“This visit is an opportunity to meet with Cuban officials in the areas of agriculture and exports, to explore ways in which we could modernize the relations between our countries and create new economic opportunities in those areas for businesses in Minnesota as well as within the entire nation,” Klobuchar said. “Minnesota exported about $20 million worth of agricultural products to Cuba in 2013, and my main focus is to seek strategies which will increase this number.”

Other Democratic members of Congress traveling with Pelosi were: Eliot Engel (New York), Jim McGovern (Massachusetts), Rosa DeLauro (Connecticut), Collin Peterson (Minnesota), Anna Eshoo (California), Nydia Velazquez (New York), Steve Israel (New York) and David Cicilline (Rhode Island).

On Thursday, Pelosi plans to hold a news conference in the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.

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