HAVANA, Cuba – Barack Obama on Sunday became the first US president in 88 years to visit Cuba, hailing an “historic opportunity” to cast aside decades of Cold War enmity with the communist state.
Touching down in Havana, Obama began the landmark trip with an overture to Cuba’s citizens — “Que bola Cuba?,” he tweeted, using local slang to ask “what’s up?”
A smiling Obama then emerged from Air Force One with his wife Michelle and their two daughters Sasha and Malia, clutching umbrellas to shield themselves from a warm afternoon rain shower.
- Obama is not only the first sitting US leader to visit Cuba since Fidel Castro’s guerrillas overthrew the US-backed government of Fulgencio Batista in 1959, but the first since President Calvin Coolidge in 1928.
- “President Coolidge came on a battleship, it took him three days to get here. It only took me three hours,” Obama joked during a meeting with staff from the freshly reopened US embassy.
“This is a historic visit and a historic opportunity,” he said. For Cubans dreaming of escaping isolation and reinvigorating their threadbare economy, the visit has created huge excitement. But just hours before Obama’s arrival there was an ominous reminder of their government’s controlling hand.
Source:Washington Post...More..Police in Havana arrested dozens of people from a banned group demanding greater human rights,AFP reporters witnessed.