Cuba is only 90 miles from the Florida coast but it sometimes feels as if it’s much farther away. While travel restrictions between the United States and Cuba have eased in recent years, their relationship over the last five decades is far from close.
A small group of students from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville just returned from a 10 day visit to Cuba under an educational arrangement between SIUE and the University of Havana. Harvard University is the only other institution to take advantage of such an opportunity under the initiative.
Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Sean Crawford used in this report.
About a dozen Illinois state lawmakers are headed to Cuba this week for what's being called a trade mission.
Representative Jack Franks says the visit could boost state exports to Cuba. The Democrat from Woodstock will be leading the week-long trip. It's been 12 years since former Governor George Ryan traveled to Cuba in a high profile effort to build a new market for Illinois' farm economy. Franks says trade with Cuba has fallen off since then.