President Obama Visits Cuba

As all of us return from our spring breaks, President Obama and the rest of the first family took a trip of their own. Theirs is not a vacation however; the President is visiting Cuba, making him the first sitting president to step foot on the island nation since 1928 when Calvin Coolidge arrived via battleship.

 

President Obama and the first family take a walking tour of a Havana cathedral on March 20 

 

President Obama’s visit is a result of a recent effort to restore relations with Cuba, which has been off limits for Americans for decades. Now, however, trade and travel restrictions are being loosened, and many more Americans will have the opportunity to visit the island. Some notable visitors in recent years are rapper Jay Z and his wife Beyoncé in 2013 and Pope Francis in 2015.  

 

Jay Z and Beyoncé in Cuba, 2013

 

The first family toured Havana on Sunday, and on Monday, President Obama sat down with Cuba’s president Raul Castro in Havana to discuss diplomatic relations. Both leaders took questions from reporters, a rare occurrence in a country with a strict state-controlled media.

The U.S. currently has a trade embargo on Cuba, making a full restoration of ties very difficult. "Much more could be done if the U.S. blockade could be lifted," Castro said in a statement following his meeting with Obama at the Palace of the Revolution in Old Havana. "The most recent measures adopted by his administration are positive but insufficient."

Obama will conclude his visit on Tuesday, after attending an exhibition game between the Cuban national baseball team and the Tampa Bay Rays.