HAVANA:(APS)MARCH 21,2016—U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Cuba Sunday on a historic trip, with the two nations moving to normalize their relations 55 years after they broke off ties.
According to VOA that Obama, the first sitting U.S. president to travel to Cuba in almost 90 years, will cap his visit with a direct address to the Cuban people outlining his vision for the future U.S.-Cuba relationship.
Obama stepped off Air Force One under cloudy skies and light rain at the airport in Havana just after 4:30 p.m. Sunday.
Just before landing, Obama tweeted to the people of Cuba.
“Que bolá Cuba? Just touched down here, looking forward to meeting and hearing directly from the Cuban people.”
On the tarmac, the president, his wife and two daughters were greeted by a Cuban delegation that also presented first lady Michelle Obama with a bouquet of flowers.
Obama brought with him a delegation that includes lawmakers from both U.S. political parties, corporate executives and prominent Cuban-Americans.
In remarks at the Melia Habana Hotel in Havana, Obama said, “Having a U.S. embassy (in Cuba) means we’re more effectively able to advance our values, our interests and understand more effectively” the Cuban people’s concerns. “This is a historic visit and a historic opportunity.”
He also joked that, “Back in 1928, President (Calvin) Coolidge came (to Cuba) on a battleship. It took him three days to get here. It only took me three hours.”
Obama and his family will mostly play tourists on their first night on the Caribbean island, taking in the famous sights of Old Havana.
The White House said Obama’s three-day visit, and his televised speech in Havana Tuesday, represents a new beginning in the relationship between the former Cold War enemies, expanding on the formal restoration of their diplomatic ties eight months ago.