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posted by CoolHand on Sunday March 20 2016, @10:01PM   Printer-friendly

President Obama has become the first U.S. president to visit Cuba since long before the Cuban embargo began:

President Barack Obama embarked on Sunday on a historic trip to Cuba where a Communist government that vilified the United States for decades prepared a red-carpet welcome. Lifting off from Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, Obama headed for Havana where the sight of Air Force One, America's iconic presidential jet, touching down on Cuban soil would have been unimaginable not long ago.

The three-day trip, the first by a U.S. president in 88 years, is the culmination of a diplomatic opening announced by Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro in December 2014, ending a Cold War-era estrangement that began when the Cuban revolution ousted a pro-American government in 1959. Obama, who abandoned a longtime U.S. policy of trying to isolate Cuba internationally, now wants to make his shift irreversible. But major obstacles remain to full normalization of ties.

Ahead of Obama's arrival, plainclothes police blanketed the capital with security while public works crews busily laid down asphalt in a city where drivers joke they must navigate "potholes with streets." Welcome signs with images of Obama alongside Castro popped up in colonial Old Havana, where the president and his family will tour later on Sunday.

Also at The Guardian and live at The Washington Post. Voice of America reports that dozens of protesters were arrested hours before Obama's visit.

Extras:

How Canada played pivotal role in Obama's history-making trip to Cuba
How Raúl Castro broke with firebrand brother Fidel to jump start Cuba-U.S. relations
US hotel firm Starwood strikes historic Cuba deal


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  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20 2016, @11:11PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20 2016, @11:11PM (#320906)

    is that he's a great strategic thinker in foreign policy, which we saw from the very beginning when he came out strongly against the Iraq War (note: this was at a time when @realDonaldTrump still publicly supported it as a private citizen).

    Putin doesn't like this rapproachment one bit, because Cuba has been a reliable client state 100 miles from Florida. Russia has been Cuba's sugar daddy for decades; now the tourism and business with the USA will lift Cuba's economy without Russia's help.

    I support the TPP for similar reasons. China doesn't like the TPP because they want to dominate the Far East, economically and militarily, intimidating the developing countries in the region, maybe even claw back Taiwan. TPP is an extension of America's military policy.

    When you don't have strong trading partners, you have to try to make it up with extra military weapons, deployments, and engagements, similar to what Putin just tried to do (and failed) in Syria. That costs hundreds of billions of dollars, even trillions.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @07:37AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @07:37AM (#321018)

    The Economist says [economist.com] of Cuba around the time of the dissolution of the USSR:

    ... Domestic cats disappeared from the streets and reappeared on the dinner table. The zoo population thinned out. “The peacocks, the buffalo and even the rhea [a South American bird that resembles an ostrich] disappeared,” says a Havana resident. “The hyaenas became vegetarians, the zoo was depopulated and even the tigers had only sweet potatoes and a bit of cassava to eat.”

    Wikipedia has an article [wikipedia.org] about those times.