Ending the 88-Year Silence: The Most Shared Thoughts on President Obama’s Cuba VisitBy Megan T. Brown on March 21, 2016
On Sunday, Air Force One touched down in Havana, making President Obama the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba in nearly nine decades following the recent, history-making decision to thaw relations with the country. What does the visit mean for the U.S.—and what does it mean for Cuban citizens? From planned protests to revelers flooding the streets for a glimpse of the First Family, here are the most buzzed-about thoughts surrounding the president’s trip to Cuba.
During his first stop in the country, the president said of children present at the ceremony: “By the time they’re adults, our hope is that they think it’s natural that a U.S. president should be visiting Cuba, and they think it’s natural that the two peoples are working together.”
Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
Obama's end to Cuba's estrangement is a demonstration of his core foreign policy principles as well as the power of democracy in dealing with enemies.
Cardinal Ortega and Pope Francis are credited with encouraging the reacquaintance of the two countries, and the first family recognized the archbishop's involvement with a visit to the Havana Cathedral.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images via NPR
The president acknowledged human rights concerns in the communist country, but said he felt this visit was an opportunity to prompt change.
Reuters via Daily Mail
While many Cubans state that an end to the embargo is what the country needs most, others assert that Cuba's problems cannot be solved solely with a U.S. friendship.
John Brecher/NBC News
Kevin Casas-Zamora, a director of the Washington, DC thinktank, Inter-American Dialogue, said the re-establishment of the relationship was not for Cuba's sake, but to relieve the U.S. of embarrassment.
Carlos Barria/Reuters via The Guardian
During a joint news conference, Cuban President Raúl Castro asserted there are no political prisoners in Cuba, asking journalists to give him "a list" of suspected prisoners.
Reuters via BBC News
While Americans once held the idea of a U.S. president visiting Cuba while a Castro was in power absurd, the relations with the two leaders have noticeably softened. During his visit, President Obama will not meet with the current Cuban president's brother, Fidel Castro.
ABC News via Fusion
More than 50 dissidents marching to demand improved human rights were arrested just prior to the president's visit. One protestor said of the timing: "[Obama] needs to know that we are here being repressed simply for exercising our right to express ourselves and manifest in a non-violent way."
Jack Gruber/USA TODAY
Cuba’s deputy director of U.S. affairs doesn't fear the formation of new ties. “I don’t think that the Cuban people are going to be bewitched by North American culture,” he said.
Reuters via CBS News