Andrew Cuomo
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo (Photo by Spencer Platt, Getty Images)

by Christine Urio

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently took a strategic trip to Cuba to capitalize on business between the nations.

Cuomo’s trip is one of the first since America changed its policy towards the nation, and he is looking to take advantage of this freedom to benefit his state.

Along with a delegation of New York business leaders, according to CNN, they are “looking to pave the way for new commercial opportunities in the island nation that has been largely isolated by the U.S. over the last half-century.”

This was a smart move on Cuomo’s part, for it opened the door to build positive relationships that could essentially benefit both nations.

According to a New York Times article, Cuomo said, change was coming to Cuba, and New York should be there to capitalize on it.

“I think it is inevitable. I think it is happening.”

President Barack Obama has enforced new policies that are making it easier for businesses to take their products to Cuba, particularly in the food, travel, and financial industries.

This policy holds endless benefits, particularly for companies such as JetBlue, MasterCard, Pfizer, and Chobani, who accompanied Cuomo on his trip.

According to the New York Times, Cuomo jumped on the chance to guarantee that New York companies have a prime opportunity when the Cuban market opens and is leading a delegation of companies to be “at the front of the line as the door opens.”

Cuomo has referred to his trip as the “first stage of his ‘Global New York’ strategy to expand state business opportunities around the world,” said a USA Today article.

It seems that the governor has big plans to increase international relations and decrease global tensions, which is an optimistic, but overwhelming task.

“Change is unsettling and there are a lot of strong feelings,” Cuomo said in a CNN article.

Many people have differing in opinion on what he is doing, but overall it is impressive that he is taking the initiative to ease domestic relations and is visibly doing something about it—he is getting involved in making a difference, not just sitting in an office, removed from the situation.

“Isolation has not worked,” Cuomo said in a USA Today article. “Engagement and full relationships is the best way to have a dialogue on the issues that we agree with and on the issues that we disagree about.”

Like with all relationships, Cuomo understands that communication is key and that ignoring problems is not going to make them go away, they need to be addressed.

While it was Obama’s decision to take Cuba off the list of terrorist threats, it is also Cuomo’s open-mindedness and enthusiasm that has truly propelled this situation to have a positive outcome.

However, the ultimate decision of how relations with Cuba proceed is left up to the president and congress.

Cuomo is respectfully leaving the foreign policy decision up to the administration who will hopefully smooth out the details to effectively and efficiently continue normalized relations with Cuba.

By being respectful in a rigid situation like this, Cuomo is exemplifying his diplomacy and by stepping back is essentially helping to ease the tedious process for not over-complicating the situation and making things difficult.

According to CNN, “For Cuomo, the trip is the first in a series of foreign trips planned for this year to promote commercial ties with New York companies. He has said he also plans to head up trade missions to Canada, China, Mexico, Israel and Italy.”

With big international plans, it is no surprise that Cuomo is a rising figure in the Democratic Party. It will be interesting to see how he will navigate both international and domestic issues in the upcoming months leading to primaries.