WASHINGTON, January 17 (Sputnik) — US Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont together with several other lawmakers will travel to Cuba over the weekend to talk about the expectations that both countries have on their new normalized relationship, the senator announced in a statement on Friday.
“This is the first congressional mission to Cuba since the change of policy announced by the President [Obama] on December 17,” Leahy said. “We [US lawmakers] are going this time to discuss our expectations, and the Cubans' expectations, for the normalization of relations.”
“We want to explore opportunities for greater cooperation, and to encourage Cuban officials to address issues of real concern to the American people and to their representatives in Congress,” Leahy said.
While this will not be Senator Leahy’s first time to Cuba, he will head the delegation on its first trip there. Before the release of former US Agency for International Development hostage Alan Gross, the Vermont senator visited him twice in Cuba.
On Friday, the United States revised regulations to ease US trade and travel policies towards Cuba after Washington announced in December that they would begin working toward the normalization of bilateral relations with Cuba.
Since 1961, the United States has maintained an embargo in place against Cuba due to Cold-War antagonism between Washington and the Communist government in Havana.