In Cuba visit, Colorado governor sees government desire to work with Trump
By Marc Frank | HAVANA
The governor of Colorado said on Sunday he believes the Cuban government
wants to further improve relations with the United States under
President Donald Trump, as he wrapped up a three-day visit to the
Communist-run island nation.
"They seemed eager for the chance to build a relationship with President
Trump and have it be a constructive one," Governor John Hickenlooper, a
Democrat, said of his meeting with Cuba's point person for U.S.
relations, Josefina Vidal.
He said in an interview that Vidal, director of U.S. affairs at the
Cuban foreign ministry, and other foreign ministry officials "were
"They realize they have to wait and that the new administration has a
lot of things going on. They understand things could change in some
ways, but I didn't sense there was any fear or some sort of depression,"
the governor said.
Hickenlooper, who traveled with a cultural and business delegation, was
the highest-ranking elected U.S. official to meet with Vidal since Trump
assumed office last month. Trump has said he wanted a better deal than
that brokered by his predecessor, Barack Obama.
On Friday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said a "full review"
of America's foreign policy toward Cuba was underway.
Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro stunned the world in December 2014
when they announced the two governments would restore diplomatic ties
after more than 50 years of Cold War hostilities and work to normalize
The Colorado governor said the purpose of his trip was to view
post-Fidel Castro Cuba and invite the country to his state's Biennial of
the Americas, which brings together the cultures, businesses and ideas
of North and South America.
Hickenlooper said the Cubans had enthusiastically accepted the
invitation to attend the event in September.
Hickenlooper said he did not doubt many innocent people were hurt during
the early years of the Revolution, but most of those involved had passed
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"The younger people seem eager to build a relationship with the United
States," he said.
The governor, a former entrepreneur and restaurant owner, spent a day
meeting with small business owners and said he had visited five private
"I was surprised. One has this vision of everyone being downtrodden, and
there was so much optimism and positive energy," he said.
"Some of the business people did say if you see President Trump please
tell him to let us keep the beginnings of this new inspiration," he said.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)
Source: In Cuba visit, Colorado governor sees government desire to work
with Trump | Reuters -