Cuomo brings Buffalonians to Cuba

HAVANA, CUBA (WIVB)-  Governor Cuomo is the first American Governor to go to Cuba since President Obama called on Congress to lift the trade embargo.

On Monday, Cuomo addressed a round table meeting in Havana, where he is also expected to meet with the first vice president, Minister of Trade, and a Catholic Cardinal. He brought along representives from JetBlue, Mastercard, Pfizer.. He’s also traveling with Buffalo’s Howard Zemsky, now President of Empire State Development, UB’s Latin American Studies Director Jose Buscaglia Salgado, Roswell Park’s CEO Candace Johnson, and Roswell Doctor Kelvin Lee.

Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul says it’s about opportunities for business, “but also if we could take advantage of some of the research that they’ve done and have a closer alliance with Roswell that’d be a good outcome.”

“Stuff that was made in America, they haven’t had in years” said retired Buffalo teacher Bob Brancato, who  just returned from a week in Cuba. It was part of an artistic tour which required a Cuban guide to be with his group at all times.

Brancato points out how the average Cuban only makes about five bucks a week, but he saw a new sense of hope there. ” I think there’s a change coming over and they feel it and you can feel it in the air when you talk to them. I think they’re more open than they were six months ago, and I think they want more contact with Americans.”

“We believe this is gonna be a dramatic change that is gonna be to the benefit of the people of Cuba and also the people of the United States.” said Cuomo who is expected to return Tuesday evening.

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