Delaware senator visits Africa and talks Cuba [video]

One Delaware legislator is heading over to Africa where the Ebola scare has taken place to visit U.S Troops.

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del, is traveling to Liberia where more than 2,000 soldiers are currently serving on the frontlines to build hospitals, field clinics, and other the resources needed to bring an end to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. He left Thursday afternoon from the Wilmington train station to catch a flight from Washington, D.C.

“I think it’s important, given that we are going to commit significant American resources to making sure we develop a vaccine,” said Coons, who will spend a few days there to conduct oversight and deliver a bag of goodies to military personnel.

Sen. Coons loaded some of his luggage with boxes of Tastykakes and other treats that only soldiers from the Delaware Valley would recognize.

Before hopping the train, Coons who visited Cuba three years ago, also weighed in on the latest there and expressed some concerns.

“I think we need to continue to invest in promoting democracy and fighting for liberalization of Cuban society,” Coons said.

According to Sen. Coons, he’s very much aware of the challenges in trying to remove and/or change the Castro dictatorship.

“Cuba remains an oppressive dictatorship and I expect that there will be vigorous and open debate when we get back into session in January. There is a wide range of views on the foreign relations committee and in Senate,” said the senator, who added that the situation is about much more than transporting Cuban cigars and having access to Cuban resorts.

“To me, fundamentally, this ought to be about human rights and about whether a restoration of full diplomatic relations with Cuba will promote human rights and democracy,” Coons said.

Delaware in the past has sold a significant amount of poultry exports of chicken to Cuba and Coons said it is his hope that if there really is a full normalization of relations that Delaware will have an opportunity at that business market.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.