One-Year Later: Cuomo's Cuba Trip Produces Zero Exports (and Taxpayer Deficit)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Remember all of the fanfare surrounding New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's trip to Cuba?

Well, one-year later, here are the results: Zero.

Actually, to be fair: a $200,000 deficit for New York taxpayers.

From Buffalo's WQRZ:

Exports lacking 1 year after Cuomo's Cuba trip

New York State trip to Cuba under scrutiny

It was one year ago today that Governor Cuomo was in Cuba for a visit, and you paid for it to the tune of $200,000.

The U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council is calling out the Governor.

"It was a $200,000 24 hour visit to Cuba for a photo-op," says U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council President John Kavulich.

Kavulich contacted representatives of the seven New York-based companies that went on the trip to see how they've benefited one year later.

"None of the companies have reported any solid exports or service activities since last year. One company that was involved with agriculture wasn't able to get anywhere. Sought the help from Governor Cuomo's staff, didn't get anywhere," said Kavulich.

That company, according to Kavulich, is Cayuga Milk Ingredients. He says Chobani Greek Yogurt, Pfizer, and Regeneron also reported no exports to Cuba. And his research found Infor just has an agreement to sell software in Cuba. MasterCard is awaiting some legal clarifications. And Jet Blue has applied to start direct U.S. flights to Cuba and is waiting for a decision.

The one bright spot in Kavulich's report is Roswell, which he points out has had a relationship with Cuba since 2011, long before Cuomo's trip. Roswell's C.E.O. told 2 On Your Side the trade mission was critical when it came to making progress with the lung cancer vaccine that's being worked on there. It's now marching towards F.D.A. approval for clinical trials to begin in the U.S.

The Freedom of Information request filed by Kavulich’s group revealed that the Governor went with 15 staff members. Seven of those people work in his press office.