#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 8°C Wednesday 23 September 2020
Advertisement

Barack Obama becomes first US president to visit Cuba in nearly 90 years

US President Barack Obama met with President Raúl Castro in Havana today.

IN A HISTORIC visit, US President Barack Obama has met with President Raúl Castro in Cuba today.

The three-day visit to the island marks the first US presidential visit to Cuba in nearly 90 years.

Obama and Castro met in Havana’s Palace of the Revolution for groundbreaking talks on ending the standoff between the two neighbors.

For Obama, the diplomatic opening is a centrepiece of his foreign policy legacy and the fulfillment of his pledge to engage directly with longtime American enemies.

Obama was greeted by a military band at the Palace of the Revolution, a building put up after the 1959 revolution that turned Cuba into a communist state. He then sat for discussions with Castro in front of a backdrop of tall tropical plants and the two countries’ flags.

The United States has yet to lift its decades-old economic embargo on Havana.

But despite these differences, Obama and Castro say they are ready to bury their Cold War-era conflict and work toward a complete opening of relations.

Obama paid homage to Cuban independence hero Jose Marti, laying a wreath and signing a memorial book at the foot of a statue in the heart of Havana’s government district. 

Cuba Obama Source: AP/Press Association Images

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba played the Star-Spangled Banner, with images of the event broadcast on Cuban television.

Marti was a leading figure in Cuba’s battle for independence from Spain.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

Cuba Obama A Cuban man wearing an American flag applauds as President Barack Obama's convoy passes by along the Malecon into Old Havana, Cuba. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Secretary of State John Kerry said the Obama visit was “a historic moment,” adding that it was “pretty remarkable to hear the anthems here, side by side, in Havana with the president of the United States”.

After signing the memorial book Obama walked across Revolution Square under the gaze of a mural of revolutionary icon Che Guevara to a meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro.

Obama is travelling with the first lady Michelle Obama, her mother and their daughters, Sasha and Malia.

Barack Obama becomes first US president to visit Cuba in nearly 90 years
1 / 8
  • Cuba Obama

    Source: AP/Press Association Images
  • Cuba visit

    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama greet children and families of U.S. embassy personnel during an event at the Melia Habana Hotel in Havana.
  • Cuba visit

    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama greet children and families of U.S. embassy personnel during an event at the Melia Habana Hotel in Havana.Source: AP/Press Association Images
  • Cuba visit

    President Barack Obama with Cuban President Raul Castro.Source: AP/Press Association Images
  • Cuba visit

    President Barack Obama with Cuban President Raul Castro.Source: AP/Press Association Images
  • Cuba visit

    President Barack Obama meets with Cuban President Raul Castro.Source: AP/Press Association Images
  • Cuba visit

    President Barack Obama introduces Secretary of State John Kerry, left to Cuban President Raul Castro, during a welcoming ceremony at the Palace of the Revolution.Source: AP/Press Association Images
  • Cuba visit

    President Barack Obama meets with Cuban President Raul Castro at the Palace of the Revolution.Source: AP/Press Association Images

About the author:

AFP

Read next:

COMMENTS (42)