Advisory About Senator Leahy’s Congressional Delegation Mission To Cuba

Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who is heading the upcoming congressional delegation visit to Cuba:

"This is the first congressional mission to Cuba since the change of policy announced by the President on December 17, the day Alan Gross returned home.  We have all been to Cuba before, and we strongly support the President's new direction for our policy toward Cuba.  We 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."

Information About The Leahy Congressional Delegation To Cuba:

Jan. 17-19 (while Congress is not in session during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend)

Departs Washington Saturday morning (Jan. 17)

Returns to Washington from Havana Monday evening (Jan. 19)


Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) (head of delegation)

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.)

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.)


*** First congressional delegation visit to Cuba since the U.S. announcement of change of policy

*** Seek clarity from Cubans on what they envision normalization to look like, going beyond past rote responses such as ‘end the embargo.’  Help develop a sense of what Cuba and the United States are prepared to do to make a constructive relationship possible

*** Impress upon Cuban leaders the importance of concrete results and positive momentum

*** Convey a sense of Americans’ expectations, and perceptions in Congress


*** Meetings with Cuban government officials

*** Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino (tentative)

*** It has been the practice of Senator Leahy’s earlier CODELS to meet with representatives of Cuba’s civil society

*** The U.S. Interests Section

*** Other ambassadors to Cuba (for example, Mexico, Spain, Norway, Colombia)

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