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Washington Regional Leaders to Join Hispanic Chamber on Exploratory Mission to Cuba
DC, MD, VA officials, businesses, and entrepreneurs to make historic trip
Published Wednesday, February 17, 2016 9:50 am
by Pamela Nieto


(WASHINGTON, DC) – Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GWHCC) President and CEO Angela Franco today announced an historic regional exploratory mission to Cuba, February 20-25, 2016.  The mission will include District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, Montgomery County, Maryland Executive Ike Leggett, and Secretary of Commerce and Trade for the Commonwealth of Virginia Maurice Jones. Collectively, the delegation represents the strength and diversity of the regional economy, and affirms the region as a global leader in development, innovation, and international trade.

“For 40 years, the Chamber has dedicated its work to building innovative partnerships that advance Latino business ownership and expand their reach into new markets at home and abroad,” said Angela Franco. “We are hopeful this mission will be a start to securing future economic and community benefits for the region, its residents, and its businesses.”

The regional delegation will lay the groundwork for future relationships and potential economic and cultural opportunities in Cuba.  The mission will also serve as a platform to learn best practices and showcase the Washington metropolitan area’s strengths in transportation, tourism, health, and education.

“From China to Cuba – and everywhere in between – these missions are important because they can create jobs for our residents and improve our local economies,” said Mayor Bowser. “I look forward to joining my fellow regional leaders to Cuba as we explore investment opportunities and position ourselves for greater economic success.”

“I look forward to exploring ways that Montgomery County residents and businesses can connect with Cuba and with our regional partners to advance our mutual interests,” said Montgomery County, Maryland Executive Ike Leggett.

Maurice A. Jones, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade said, “This mission is a great opportunity to build relationships that will be the foundation for economic development, tourism and trade opportunities for the region and the Commonwealth of Virginia. I look forward to collaborating with my partners from Maryland and the District of Columbia to highlight the world-class assets we have.”

Dan Waetjen, Chairman of the Greater Washington Board of Trade said, “This regional cooperation and collaboration across jurisdictions is exactly how we will grow our economy. We commend Mayor Bowser and her team, County Executive Leggett, the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and all the officials and Council of Governments leaders joining together to explore opportunities in Cuba.”

In Havana, the delegation will meet with Cuban government officials, including Havana Mayor Marta Hernández Romero, Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla and Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz.  Members of the delegation will also meet with U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis about U.S. diplomacy in Cuba and economic opportunities for regional businesses in Havana.

In addition, the delegation will visit primary and secondary schools and the University of Havana to learn lessons on how literacy, graduation and retention rates, and other educational successes remain consistently high.  Delegates will tour research hospitals and local clinics to learn about strategies that achieve high health standards amid a scarcity of resources.

Government officials for the regional delegation include:

  • Muriel Bowser, Mayor (DC)
  • Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade (VA)
  • Ike Leggett, County Executive of Montgomery County (MD)
  • Jack Evans, Ward 2 Councilmember (DC)
  • Vincent Orange, At-Large Councilmember (DC)
  • Nancy Navarro, Councilmember of Montgomery County (MD)
  • Roger Berliner, Vice President of Montgomery County Council (MD)
  • John Falcicchio, Chief of Staff to Mayor Bowser (DC)
  • Brian Kenner, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DC)
  • Beverly Perry, Senior Advisor (DC)
  • Kaya Henderson, DC Public Schools Chancellor (DC)
  • Ana Harvey, Director of the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DC)
  • Bruce Adams, Director of the Office of Community Partnerships (MD)
  • Claudia Canales, Administrative Assistant to the County Executive Ike Leggett(MD)
  • Schannette Grant, Chief of Staff to Jack Evans (DC)

Additional members of the regional delegation from the private and non-profit sectors are:

  • Angela Franco, President & CEO of the GWHCC
  • Jim Dinegar, President and CEO, Greater Washington

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910 17th St NW, Suite 1150
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phone: 202.728.0352 

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