President Obama to Visit Cuba in March
In the ultimate thawing of what’s left of the Cold War, President Obama will travel to Cuba next month.
On Thursday, the president confirmed reports of a planned visit on March 21-22 to Havana, the communist nation’s capital. No president has visited Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928.
Present Obama shared a series of Tweets leading up to his big announcement, discussing the progress made and work left to do between the two countries. First Lady, Michelle Obama, will accompany the president to Cuba.
Relations between the United States and Cuba were severed in 1961 during the Cold War. At the height of the war of words, the two countries often found themselves in conflict, with crises such as the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Even after the Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States kept enforcing their embargo on Cuba.
It wasn’t until December 2014 that President Obama announced reopening ties with Cuba, which is seen as a step to normalizing relations between the two countries. On July 20, 2015, embassies reopened in their respective capitals for the first time since 1961.
Republican presidential candidates were quick to demonize the president’s trip to Cuba.
At the CNN Town Hall in South Carolina, Cuban-American candidate Marco Rubio (R-FL) said he would not visit the nation until Cuba is totally free, calling it “an anti-American communist dictatorship” and a “repressive regime.”
Texas Senator Ted Cruz added, “I think it’s a real mistake. I think the president ought to be pushing for a free Cuba.”
Only time will tell if either Rubio or Cruz get their wish.