Finally, Obama will travel to Cuba

Posted: 19-Feb-16 09:12

The White House made a public statement on Thursday, explaining that the visit will take place on 21 to 22 March this year, before the president embarks in a visit to Argentina. Obama also made the announcement himself on his Twitter account.

Finally, Obama will travel to Cuba

Barack Obama will be the first sitting president of the United States to make a state visit to Cuba in approximately nine decades, shifting radically the pattern fallowed by his predecessors that were almost generally devoted to a guiding principle of hostility towards the island.

The president posted the news on Twitter:

“Next month, I'll travel to Cuba to advance our progress and efforts that can improve the lives of the Cuban people.”

The commander in chief at the White House and Cuban president Raul Castro started a process towards the restauration of diplomatic ties between their countries on December 17th 2014, after 54 years of distancing.

Soon after that announcement, Barack Obama publicly expressed his desire to visit Cuba before leaving the office, and he suggested the possibility of the trip several times without confirming it.

But this Thursday the White House stated that the president will travel to the island with his wife, Michelle, and pointed out that

“This historic visit - the first by a sitting US president in nearly 90 years - is another demonstration of the president's commitment to chart a new course for US-Cuban relations and connect US and Cuban citizens through expanded travel, commerce, and access to information.”

Calvin Coolidge visited Havana in 1928, being the first president that has arrived to Cuba. Harry Truman visited Guantanamo Bay in 1948 but this territory was -and still is- part of the U.S., according to the 1901's Platt Amendment. Former President Jimmy Carter has visited Cuba in various occasions since leaving office.

Obama has been openly criticised by two of the candidates that are running for the presidency this year, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, both sons of Cuban migrants.

Rubio, senator of Florida, said that Obama’s plan to visit the Caribbean country was foolish, and that he would not go there “if is not a free Cuba”. The presidency candidate is known for being one of the most radical opponents to the dialogue between Washington and Havana.

On his side, Senator Cruz said the U.S. would be acting "as an apologist" and demonstrating "weakness and appeasement" to America's enemies.

But the relationship between Cuba and the U.S. is far from being a battlefield again. On January last year, the American government released a package of measures that have eased the long-standing commercial embargo on the island. Between July and August 2015 embassies were opened in Havana and Washington, and in the course of the year officials of both countries have met for discussing different issues, both in the U.S. and Cuba.

On Tuesday, U.S. and Cuban officials signed a deal to resume commercial air traffic for the first time in 50 years. It is expected that companies like Delta Airlines will begin to operate regular flights from the U.S. to nine airports in Cuba in the summer.

For sure, new changes to the travel industry -among others- will arise in Cuba after Obamas's visit.


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