Spots open to join Brevard leaders on trip to Cuba

On the heels of President Obama’s new policy, several Brevard County leaders and residents are preparing to travel to Cuba.

BREVARD COUNTY — Several Brevard County leaders and residents are preparing to travel to Cuba.

It comes on the heels of President Barack Obama’s new policy towards the communist country, hoping to restore diplomatic ties between the two nations.

“It’s a people to people tour, so we get the opportunity to see Cuba and meet the citizens, but there’s absolutely no business,” said Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Linda Webster.

Back in August, the chamber of commerce started planning the trip, well before Obama’s announcement the U.S. would normalize ties with the communist country.

“That created a whole new excitement for the trip because really this trip may be one of the last opportunities to see Cuba as it is today,” said Webster. “With the borders opening up and everything being relaxed, things are going to change very quickly.”

Special visas were approved for the trip.

Although they can’t discuss business, the group will be talking to Cubans about everything Brevard has to offer.

Port Canaveral Chairman Jerry Allender expects the trip will help lay the groundwork for future missions to the country, hoping the port’s growing cruise and cargo business can benefit from the reestablished ties.

“We’re striving to drastically increase our cargo business, working on all the programs that we have in place,” said Allender. “Certainly Cuba is going to be a very important market for all kinds of cargo and located at Port Canaveral, we’re a short distance to Cuba.”

The group of approximately 50 travelers will visit Cuba in mid-February.

The chamber of commerce said there’s still time to join them, and have approximately 10 or so open spots.

By Jerry Hume, Brevard County Reporter, News13

January 25, 2015

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