Colorado is wasting no time visiting Cuba after the Obama administration reestablished diplomatic ties with the nation in July of 2015. Colorado governor John Hickenlooper recently made a visit to the island nation with a delegation from the Biennial of the Americas nation to discuss a range of topics including establishing ties between Colorado and Cuba. The visit comes at a time when the new Trump administration has kept its cards close to its chest in relations to the recently open country.
During his visit, Governor Hickenlooper met with top diplomats of Cuba, including the head of US – Cuba relations Josefina Vidal. The two discussed several matters including cultural and economic exchange, new possibilities in trade, and the new executive administration. Per Hickenlooper, Cuba is excited about working with the new administration. “The officials seemed eager – or at least open – to establishing a new communication with the new administration. They didn’t seem in any way fearful or mistrustful.”
Hickenlooper’s visit is the third to Cuba by an American governor after New York’s Andrew Cuomo and Texas’s Greg Abbot. Former President Obama’s visit to Cuba was the first by a sitting president in 88 years. Per Reuters, Hickenlooper is the highest-ranking US official to meet with Vidal since the new Trump administration took office.
Hickenlooper took note of the excitement between US and Cuba, as well as the entrepreneurial mindset that is sweeping the nation, the new drive for business reminded Hickenlooper of his own entrepreneurial past. “I could almost taste their excitement,” said Hickenlooper. “It made me think back to 30 years ago when I was thinking about how I was going to open the Wynkoop.”
Hickenlooper was not forgetful of Cuba’s dictatorial past noting that Cuba has a new spirit despite its troubled and often violent past under deceased dictator Fidel Castro. Regardless of past relations and history, Hickenlooper states that the visit is part of a continuing plan to help connect countries all over the Western hemisphere.
“These are our neighbors and it seems to me they are most likely trading partners,” he said. “Each of these countries is just like the United States. We’re melting pots. In some funny way, we have shared character. I believe that the more this Hemisphere operates with a sense of common purpose, I think they better we’ll all do.”