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Gov. Cuomo Plans Trade Mission To Cuba Following Eased Travel Restrictions

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) - Just a month after the federal government announced that travel restrictions would be eased, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is planning a trip to Cuba.

Spokeswoman Melissa DeRosa said in an email Saturday that Cuomo plans to lead a trade mission to the island nation to promote New York. She did not say when the governor would travel, adding that details would be announced later.

On Dec. 17, Cuba and the United States announced that the U.S. embargo on Cuba would be eased and diplomatic relations would be normalized.

DeRosa said the trip to Cuba would be part of a "Global NY'' initiative. Cuomo had previously announced that he plans trips to Israel, China, Mexico and elsewhere during his new second term as governor.

In recent days President Obama's new policy has been discussed over countless cups of Cuban coffee at 'El Artesano,' a restaurant opened by Cuban immigrants over 40 years ago.

"I don't think he should be circumventing what the original intent, the Congress put the embargo because of the regime," Ignacio Alfonso told CBS2's Tony Aiello.

The Castro regime, which controls the economy, jails political opposition and stifles free speech.

United Airlines already said it plans to initiate service from Newark-Liberty to Havana, subject togovernment approval.

That approval could take a while thanks to opponents like New Jersey's Cuban-American Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) who doesn't want to provide Cuba with a tourism boom.

"Then you are helping the regime. The reason I say that is in Cuba, every hotel, the co-owner of that hotel is the Castro regime and the Castro military," Menendez said.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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