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Barack Obama in Cuba at start of historic visit

(Last Updated On: March 21, 2016)

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President Barack Obama touched down in Cuba on Sunday, definitively ending a half-century of estrangement in a dramatic personal demonstration of his core foreign policy principle of engaging America’s enemies.

Mr Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to visit since the 1959 revolution, which heralded decades of hostility.

He will meet President Raul Castro, but not retired revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, and the pair will discuss trade and political reform.

Two hours after landing, Mr Obama greeted staff from the U.S. embassy with the words “It is wonderful to be here”.

Speaking at the reopened U.S. embassy in Havana, he called the visit “historic”. He also spent time in the old city.

“Back in 1928, President [Calvin] Coolidge came on a battleship. It took him three days to get here, it only took me three hours. For the first time ever, Air Force One has landed in Cuba and this is our very first stop.”

He added the trip was a chance for him to lay out a “vision for a future that is brighter than our past”.

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