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Readout of Mayor Bowser’s Meetings With US Ambassador to Cuba

Saturday, February 20, 2016

On her first day in Havana, Cuba, Mayor Muriel Bowser met with Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, Chargé d’Affaires for the United States in Cuba to discuss diplomatic relations. Mayor Bowser and Ambassador DeLaurentis also discussed how the District and the greater Washington region can best position itself to do business with Cuba as relations normalize.

This was the first official meeting between Mayor Bowser and Ambassador DeLaurentis. The United States established diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cuba in 1902, opening the first U.S. Embassy in Havana in 1923. The Embassy was closed in 1961 when the United States severed diplomatic relations. In 2014, President Obama announced the intention to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba and in 2015, the two nations officially renewed diplomatic relations.

Earlier today, Mayor Bowser and the regional delegation toured Old Havana to learn about the historical, cultural, and politically significant sites of the city, and visited The Viñales Valley to tour the Cohiba Cigar plantation.

Today’s events are part of an exploratory mission from February 20-25th led by the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Mayor Bowser is laying the groundwork for future relationships and potential economic and cultural opportunities with Cuba. The mission also serves as a platform for the regional delegation to learn best practices and showcase the Washington metropolitan area’s strengths in transportation, tourism, health, and education.