Interest in Cuba has surged since the Obama administration’s announcement of a thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations. Tourism is up 15% since just last year, and American businesses are eyeing opportunities to build trade with the communist island nation. With this in mind, Michigan Radio is sending two journalists to Cuba to tell some of the stories of Michigan’s connections to the Caribbean nation. Michigan Radio reporters Tracy Samilton and Mercedes Mejia will travel to Cuba from April 8-17, and will file stories that will air on Michigan Radio and online at michiganradio.org.
Among the stories Samilton and Mejia intend to pursue are efforts that may allow Michigan farmers to sell produce, meat and other products in Cuba; accompanying a group of Michigan State University medical students on the school’s first ever study trip to observe the country’s highly-regarded health care system; and a Michigan company overseeing a project to construct an Ernest Hemingway archival laboratory near the author’s historic Havana home.
“Michigan has a surprising number of cultural connections to Cuba,” said Michigan news director Vincent Duffy, “and international trade is a big part of our state’s economy. As Cuba begins to open up for business in the future, there may be opportunities for Michigan businesses. We want to find out what these opportunities may be, and share them with our audience, and hopefully be able to tell some fascinating history and cultural stories too.”
The Pure Cuba reports will be heard on Michigan Radio beginning the week of April 18. Listeners can follow the station’s Cuba coverage here. They can also join in the discussion on twitter using #PureCuba, and on Michigan Radio’s Facebook and Instagram pages.