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Mayors from the United States visiting the island expressed support for the negotiation process being carried out to improve bilateral relations between Cuba and the U.S.

During a press conference at Havana’s Hotel Nacional, members of the delegation of the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) stressed that such visits can help break down the barriers that prevent the normal development of ties.

 

They added that their views on the island prior to this visit had changed, and predicted a promising future for political and trade links.

They also agreed on the need to establish commitments to help ensure relations progress satisfactorily.

USCM President and Mayor of the City of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, noted that the organization has a duty to establish cordial ties with the international community and Cuba is no exception.

She stated that the delegation had met with Cuban leaders and officials, who requested that they reiterate the call on Congress to lift the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by Washington for more than half a century.

“We come from cities where we seek opportunities for our people, and that’s why we are here, to learn from the history between the two countries and how to improve it,” she added.

Meanwhile the Mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, stressed that despite their differences, Cuba and the United States have much in common and relations should be based on this, after more than 50 years of a failed U.S. policy.

Landrieu, second vice president of the organization, referred to the cultural ties that unite the two peoples and expressed his willingness to take with him Cuba’s message on the elimination of the blockade.

He added that New Orleans is ready to host a Cuban consulate, following a refusal from Miami.

The USCM representatives stressed that this is the right time to improve ties between the two neighboring countries and, in this sense, praised the leadership of President Barack Obama in the rapprochement with Cuba.

This is the first delegation of the United States Conference of Mayors to travel to the island since 1978. On that occasion, 40 mayors officially visited Havana and met with Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro.

The delegation, which as part of their program of activities on the island will visit the Mariel Special Development Zone, also includes USCM Executive Director, Tom Cochran; USCM Vice President Mick Cornett (mayor of Oklahoma) and other mayors of cities with populations greater than 30,000.

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