HAVANA TIMES —Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe began on Sunday an official visit to Cuba. He is the fourth leader of a US state to do so since Washington and Havana announced their diplomatic approach just over a year ago.
McAuliffe met in Havana with the Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca, reported dpa news. The governor also participated in the opening of a bilateral business forum.
McAuliffe, of the Democratic Party, called for the lifting of the US embargo on the island. The economic and trade sanctions that the US imposed on the socialist island from the early 60s are the main obstacle to full normalization of relations between the two countries.
The other US governors to travel to Cuba in the last year were Democrat Andrew Cuomo (New York) and Asa Hutchinson (Arkansas) and Gregg Abbott (Texas) both Republicans.
Like Arkansas and Texas, Virginia has an important agricultural industry. Cuba imports much of its food due to its low farm production.
The possible lifting of the embargo is one of the most complex steps for the Obama administration in his approach to Cuba. The president recently again asked the US Congress to end the sanctions, which he cannot remove unilaterally by executive power. Nonetheless, he has weakened some peripheral aspects of the embargo.