CHICAGO -- Gov. George H. Ryan has announced he will be leading another trip to Cuba with Illinois pharmaceutical firms willing to sell medicines that are badly needed in the wake of last November's hurricane.
In December, Gov. Ryan joined agri-business firm Archer Daniels Midland in sending the first grain shipment to Cuba since 1962. That shipment was also a response to Cuba's humanitarian needs after Hurricane Michelle.
In October of 1999, Gov. Ryan was the first U.S. governor to lead a humanitarian mission to Cuba in nearly 40 years. The trip was an effort to build a bridge of good will with the people of Cuba and to offer humanitarian aid and cultural exchanges.
Gov. Ryan and his party will travel to Cuba under the Humanitarian license of the New York-based organization "Americans for Humanitarian Trade with Cuba." The trip is planned for January 24-26, 2002.
"When I led our first humanitarian mission to Cuba, I hoped that one day we would help improve the conditions of life for Cubans, and at the same time benefit the people of Illinois," Gov. Ryan said. "On this trip, the people of Illinois will once again reach out to our neighbors in Cuba and build stronger, long-lasting bridges of good will and understanding."
The firms meeting with the Governor and Cuban officials include: Ferris Manufacturing, of Burr Ridge; Medline, of Mundelein; DMS Pharmaceutical, of Park Ridge; JLR International, of Chicago; and 21st Century Healthcare, of Woodridge. They were contacted along with all of the state's pharmaceutical firms last month, after the Cuban Interest Section in Washington asked for assistance. Medical supplies were depleted after the devastating hurricane.
While in Cuba, Gov. Ryan will also address the International Congress on Diagnostic Imaging in Cuba at the invitation of Dr. Robert Brossard, chair of medical imaging at the Methodist Hospital of Chicago and a participant in the Congress.
Since 1962, the U.S. government has had an economic embargo against Cuba under the regime of Fidel Castro. The sale of American medicines to Cuba was always exempted. In 2000, President Clinton signed into law a Congressional package that allowed for cash transactions for U.S. agricultural products.