Obama announces historic visit to Cuba in March

Obama announces historic visit to Cuba in March

Obama- Castro

Obama- Castro

February 18, 2016 WASHINGTON/HAVANA, (Reuters)U.S. President Barack Obama today announced a historic visit to Cuba next month, the first U.S. presidential trip to the country in nearly 90 years and a dramatic symbol of the thaw in hostilities between the former Cold War foes.

Obama, now in his final year in office, will meet with Cuban President Raul Castro, entrepreneurs, and “Cubans from different walks of life” during the March 21 and 22 visit, the White House said. First lady Michelle Obama will join him on the trip.

“Next month, I’ll travel to Cuba to advance our progress and efforts that can improve the lives of the Cuban people,” Obama wrote on Twitter.  

After decades of animosity, the two nations made a surprise announcement in December 2014 that they would move to reopen ties, a diplomatic feat that is a highlight of Obama’s presidential legacy.

Obama said that while the United States still has concerns about human rights in Cuba, it has already made significant progress in renewing relationships.

“We still have differences with the Cuban government that I will raise directly. America will always stand for human rights around the world,” Obama said.

Obama had previously said he would visit the neighboring Communist-ruled nation if he were able to meet with political dissidents.

His administration has taken steps to expand commerce with the island nation, only 90 miles (145 km) from Florida, but wants to pressure the U.S. Congress to remove the longstanding trade embargo with Cuba.

The Havana visit will resonate in the campaign for the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election. Two candidates in the Republican race, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, are conservative sons of Cuban immigrants and have criticized Obama for renewing ties with Cuba.

But news of the trip was praised in Havana.

“Peace reigns in this hemisphere,” said Jorge Felix, a home painter. “These are two countries who have confronted each other for fifty something years, and on this occasion the visit of the U.S. president to Cuba is reason for happiness and rejoicing,” he said.

“We are going to give him a box of Habanos,” for a real taste of Cuba, said Luis Fernandez, a retired cigar roller, referring to a Cuban cigar brand.

Obama will also travel to Argentina on March 23-24 to meet new President Mauricio Macri to discuss his reforms and human rights, the White House said.

 

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Comments

  • De castro  On February 19, 2016 at 1:05 am

    Happy obamarama is taking his first lady with him to Cuba….Michelle will look after him.
    Those Cuban cigars nicotine mixed with salsa music without Havana rum is “intoxicating”…..
    Ask dick head Bill Clinton what it did to him.!….or better still ask Monica the poleish seducer.

    Seriously
    Its a plus plus for USA and Cuba …..in diplomacy and trade. Now american can enjoy the hospitality
    of the beautiful Cuban peoples culturally. Obama s legacy.

    Que Sera Sera
    Lord kamtan in El ejido espania last bastion of the Moorish invasion of south Spain.

  • demerwater  On February 19, 2016 at 6:28 am

    “When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” Chinese proverb.

  • Albert  On February 19, 2016 at 11:32 am

    The Castros will not live forever.This is an opportunity to create a link with the young and future of Cuba. A ein for America.

    • De castro  On February 19, 2016 at 11:59 am

      Albert
      Think Cuba may eventually become an american state….not unlike Puerto Rico but hopefully with
      right to vote in elections. Some of the most desired doctors and health care professionals are Cubans.
      Hope it does not change “culturally” …..
      Its top of my must visit list for 2016…..if its anything like Dominican Republic just cannot wait !
      Barry and Michelle will hopefully meet some of the “poorer” Cubans of Havana….they are the true
      Cubans.

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