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Top Cuban and U.S. Agriculture Officials Meet in Havana
Gustavo Rodriguez and Thomas Vilsack, minister and secretary of agriculture of Cuba and the United States, respectively, expressed on Thursday in this capital their interest in encouraging a work relationship that favors the development of bonds in that strategic sector.
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On a working visit to the island since Wednesday, Vilsack spoke with Rodriguez at the Ministry of Agriculture on the scope and existing limitations to boost exchanges.

While welcoming the top U.S. official and the delegation accompanying him, Rodríguez expressed his satisfaction for the meeting and the visit to Cuba to speak about an essential sector in bilateral relations.

The Cuban minister announced the tour on Friday of cooperatives in Havana and Artemisa, where the presidents of these organizations will explain visitors how they develop productions in spite of the strong restrictions imposed by the economic, commercial and financial blockade.

Vilsack emphasized his intention of establishing work bonds in order to exploit the possibility of exchanging agricultural products.

He also expressed his appreciation for the warm welcome and the work schedule organized.

Also present at the meeting were Jeffrey DeLaurentis, Charge d'Affaires of the U.S. Embassy to Havana; Todd Batta, Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations; Alexis Taylor Deputy under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, and Democrat representatives for the states of Alabama, Oregon and Washington DC.

Participating for Cuba were Josefina Vidal, director general of the United States Office of the ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other officials of the Foreign Ministry; Moraima Cespedes, director for International Affairs of the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as Marcela Oria, director for Business of that Ministry and María de la Luz B'Hamel, representing the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment.

Thomas Vilsack is the third member of President Obama's cabinet to visit Cuba in scarcely three months ¬ John Kerry, Secretary of State, in August, and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in October- after the reestablishment of diplomatic relations on July 20. / CNA.

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