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Obama plans to 'build new ties, lay out plan for future' during visit to Cuba

Posted March 20
Updated March 21

— When Air Force One touched down in Havana Sunday afternoon, President Barack Obama became the first sitting president to visit Cuba since 1928.

Obama's first stop was a Havana hotel, where he greeted U.S. Embassy staff and their families and noted the momentous nature of his visit.

Miguel Morales said he hopes the visit will inspire Cuban and American politicians to put the politics from the last 50 years aside and come together.

Darra Goldstein echoed that sentiment.

"This is an extraordinary place. It is a moment of transition," she said.

In the days leading up to the president's historic trip, he removed Cuba from a list of courtries considered a security threat and lifted travel restrictions.

For more than 50 years, Cuba was an unimaginable destination for a U.S. president, as well as most American citizens. The U.S. severed diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961 after Fidel Castro's revolution sparked fears of communism spreading to the Western Hemisphere. Domestic politics in both countries contributed to the continued estrangement well after the Cold War ended.

Hours before Obama arrived, protestors calling out for human rights in Cuba were detained by police.

In a statement, the first made during his trip, Obama explained the purpose of his visit.

"To build new ties between out peoples, and for me to lay out my vision for a future brighter than our past," he said.

The president's schedule in Cuba is jam-packed, including an event with U.S. and Cuban entrepreneurs. But much of Obama's visit was about appealing directly to the Cuban people and celebrating the island's vibrant culture.

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  • Kevin Weidner Mar 21, 2016
    user avatar

    No need to report that anymore Matt - That was yesterday's news. Today, He's got a whole new audience to propose "Hope and Change" to as well as his "Vision of the Future" along with celebrating the islands vibrant color. Not really anything going on at home that he needs to deal with. Besides, Michelle said "I wanna go some where different this weekend - Hawaii and Europe are so busy this time of year".

  • Matt Nickeson Mar 21, 2016
    user avatar

    Funny how they suddenly don't mention that the Castro's didn't greet the president when he arrived.