When the United States opened the door for agricultural trade with Cuba more than a decade ago, Ward Dobbins went to Havana to market his Red Delicious apples, fresh from upstate New York. Working out of a tiny trade-show booth, he signed a contract to do business with the Cubans, and even caught a glimpse of Fidel Castro.
“I decided I wanted to be the first, and we were the first company to ship a load of apples after the embargo was lifted,” said Mr. Dobbins, owner of United Apple Sales in Lyndonville, N.Y., a village near Lake Erie.
On Monday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and a delegation of New York business owners and politicians will land in Havana with a similar ambition: to take advantage of the latest and by far the most significant easing of relations between the United States and Cuba in 50 years.
The governor’s plane will touch down in Havana around noon and, in a whirlwind 26-hour trip, he and his trade delegation will meet with Cuban officials and businesses, an effort Mr. Cuomo hopes will pave the way for New York companies to expand their reach to Cuba.