The Honorable Drew Phillip “Phil” Bryant (R), Governor of the State of Mississippi, is visiting the Republic from 19 April to 21 April 2017. He is the twentieth (20) governor to visit the Republic of Cuba since 1999.
There was no information about the visit on the Internet site for the governor or the social media platforms used by the governor as of the morning of 20 April 2017. Updates: No information published through morning of 22 April 2017. On 23 April 2017, the governor posted two images to his Facebook page along with the following statement:
"I traveled to Cuba last week on a trade mission and was joined by the leadership of Mississippi Farm Bureau. Mississippi has sold poultry and other agriculture products to Cuba since 2001. There is potential to expand trade and free market opportunities in this island nation. I was also pleased to meet with Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis at the U.S. Embassy during our visit."
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba (MINREX) began posting (including images) about the visit to its social media platforms on 19 April 2017.
The governor is the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of the State of Mississippi.... Why the secrecy? Commercial opportunities relating to the Republic of Cuba should neither be oversold nor undersold, but they do require selling. What is not yet known:
Names of companies in the delegation
Names and affiliations of the delegation
Source of funding for the delegation
Cost of the delegation
Governor Bryant now has the distinction of having the second-least transparent planning process of the twenty governors who have visited the Republic of Cuba since 1999. The visit by West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin in 2016 was the least transparent; although not too far from that of Governor Bryant.
A troubling pattern has emerged whereby Members of Congress and governors have increased the lack of transparency in advance of any visit to the Republic of Cuba and sometimes after a visit to the Republic of Cuba.
This belies a level of toxicity relating to the Republic of Cuba. In part, the issues are political- awaiting the decision(s) by the Trump Administration relating to the Republic of Cuba. In part, the issues are commercial- the government of the Republic of Cuba has yet to permit many of the Obama Administration initiatives relating to opportunities for United States companies.
Years ago, most governors and members of Congress planning to visit the Republic of Cuba sought as much publicity as possible, now they seem to coordinate itineraries as if they were visiting a brothel.
A delegation from the State of Mississippi did visit the Republic of Cuba in February 2017. That delegation was led by Ms. Rosario "Rose" Boxx, International Trade Director for the Mississippi Development Authority.
The Honorable William Thad Cochran (R), United States Senator from the State of Mississippi, visited the Republic of Cuba from 19 February 2017 to 22 February 2017 with a group of four (4) members of the United States Senate and one member of the United States House of Representatives; the itinerary included other countries. LINK TO: http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/2/10/congressional-delegation-to-visit-cuba-4-senators-1-representative
For the period 2010 through 2016, the Port at Pascagoula, Mississippi, ranked 9th of 35 United States ports that have exported food products, agricultural commodities, healthcare products and other authorized products from the United States to the Republic of Cuba. The Port at Pascagoula reported 160,579 metric tons of product for the period 2010 through 2016; no product was reported for 2015 and 2016.
The State of Mississippi is a source of frozen poultry products exported to the Republic of Cuba.
George Ryan (R- Illinois)- 1999/2002
Jesse Ventura (I- Minnesota)- 2002
John Hoeven (R- Nebraska)- 2002
David Heineman (R- Nebraska)- 2005/2006/2007
Kathleen Blanco (D- Louisiana)- 2005
John Balducci (D- Maine)- 2005
Butch Otter (R- Idaho)- 2007
Mike Beebe (D- Arkansas)- 2009
Bill Richardson (D- New Mexico)- 2009/2010
Sonny Perdue (R- Georgia)- 2010
Jay Nixon (D- Missouri) replaced by wife, Georganne Nixon- 2015
Andrew Cuomo (D- New York)- 2015
Asa Hutchinson (R- Arkansas)- 2015
Greg Abbott (R- Texas)- 2015
Terry McAuliffe (D- Virginia)- 2016
Jay Nixon (D- Missouri)- 2016
Lt. Governor Brad Owen (D-Washington)- 2016
John Bel Edwards (D- Louisiana)- 2016
Earl Ray Tomblin (D- West Virginia)- 2016
John Hickenlooper (D- Colorado)- 2017
Phil Bryant (D- Mississippi)- 2017