Cuba’s recently appointed President Miguel Díaz-Canel is expected to lead the island’s official delegation to the General Assembly of the United Nations, which is scheduled to take place at the end of the month in New York.
The visit has not yet been officially announced but Cuba’s ambassador in Washington, José Ramón Cabañas, confirmed that Díaz-Canel is coming to the U.S. His public schedule will not be released at this point due to security reasons, Cabañas added.
According to several sources who requested anonymity so they could speak about the upcoming trip, Díaz-Canel also is likely to meet with American business leaders and members of the Cuban-American community.
The meeting with Cuban Americans will take place on Sept. 28 at the U.N.’s Cuba mission in New York. Díaz-Canel is not named in the invitation but there is a reference to a “high level delegation,” according to one of the invited guests. A meeting also is scheduled with members of the U.S. agricultural and travel industries.
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The Cuban president is announced as a speaker at an event organized by Pastors for Peace to be held on Sept. 26 at the Riverside Church in Manhattan, the organization announced on its Twitter account and one of its members confirmed to el Nuevo Herald.
The Cuban government will be represented at the U.N. by a large delegation. The State Department handed out about 18 visas to Cuban officials.
This would be Díaz-Canel’s first trip to the United States since he was named as Raúl Castro’s successor and took office as president of the Councils of State and Ministers in April. His first trip as president took place in May, to Venezuela, Cuba’s closest ally.
In May, Díaz-Canel also hosted U.N. general secretary Antonio Guterres in Havana.
The Cuban leader will arrive in the U.S. at a time when relations have deteriorated because of alleged attacks against U.S. personnel in Havana.
On Thursday, officials from both countries met to exchange medical information about the victims, but the information was deemed “insufficient” by Cuban diplomats. At the meeting, representatives of the Cuban government asked the State Department to stop describing the incidents as “attacks.”
Russia is now considered the main suspect of having committed the attacks and there has been speculation about a possible “neuro-weapon” used.
Miami Herald reporter Mimi Whitefield contributed to this story.
Follow Nora Gámez Torres on Twitter: @ngameztorres