NOLA mayor: Cuban trip was privately, publicly funded

Mayor touts Cuba's health care, education, connection to New Orleans


HAVANA – On day two of her official visit to the Caribbean country, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell touted Cuba’s health care and education. 

After meeting with Havana’s provincial vice president, Cantrell said, “It’s very important for the City of New Orleans to build on a relationship with Cuba.”



Cantrell said she was interested in learning about advances in Cuba when it comes to health care and education -- specifically literacy and maternity mortality rates. 

“Our maternity mortality rates are up and so we want and we know that we can learn directly from you [Cuba] as you activated community health care on the ground,” Cantrell said. 

She added her group was also looking for economic opportunities, which is why she visited Cuba’s port Mariel Special Development Zone. 

On Wednesday, Cantrell met with Carlos Fernández de Cossio, director of the U.S. Section at Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Relations the same day she toured Old Havana. 

Local 10 News asked about funding for the trip, and Cantrell said, “It is both publicly and privately funded.”

A spokesperson for the mayor did not provide the details on the cost. 

Cantrell and her New Orleans delegation are expected to remain in Cuba through Sunday.

In May of 2016, former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu visited Cuba as part of a delegation with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a first for that group since 1978. 

Landrieu and his counterparts were on the island looking to expand diplomatic relationships with the Cuban government. 

The visit took place months after then-President Barack Obama made his historic visit to Cuba after re-opening diplomatic relations with the communist island.

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