Entrepreneurs from USA landed in Havana

cuomoweb_t670x470HAVANA, April 20 New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to touch down in Havana, Cuba, late Monday morning, where he’ll lead an approximately 25-hour trade mission to the country.

Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, was set to board a chartered JetBlue flight to the island from John F. Kennedy International Airport, along with state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a variety of New York business executives (including JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes) and more than a dozen reporters.

Upon landing in Havana around 11:30 a.m., the governor is set to undertake a frenzied schedule, as has become common on his foreign excursions. The majority of his events will be conducted on terms dictated by the Cuban government, according to his aides, and as a result several are expected be closed to press.

The trip makes him the first sitting U.S. governor to visit the island since PresidentBarack Obama said in December that he would seek to normalize diplomatic relations to the country.

According to an itinerary distributed to reporters, Mr. Cuomo will first participate in a “working lunch” with Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz, Cuba’s Minister of Trade and Foreign Investments. Later Monday afternoon, he will conduct a round-table discussion with the business executives in his delegation and their Cuban counterparts.

The governor is then expected to meet with Cuba’s First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel.

Early Monday evening, the governor and legislative leaders are set to meet with Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino at the Archdiocese of Havana.

Mr. Cuomo’s trip is being staffed by about 10 government aides, including some from the governor’s office and several from the state’s economic-development agency. The state is paying for the cost of the trip for the governor and state staffers, according to aides, while the business executives are paying their own way.