Cuba

President Obama Announces Historic Visit to Cuba

President Obama Announces Historic Visit to Cuba
Image credit: The U.S. Army | Flickr
3 min read
This story originally appeared on Reuters

U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday 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 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.

(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey and Megan Cassella; Editing by Mohammad Zargham, W Simon and Alistair Bell)

More from Entrepreneur

Are paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.
Get Your Quote Now

One-on-one online sessions with our experts can help you start a business, grow your business, build your brand, fundraise and more.
Book Your Session

Whether you are launching or growing a business, we have all the business tools you need to take your business to the next level, in one place.
Enroll Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

17 Things You Need to Know Before Doing Business in Cuba