Historic visit begins: US President Barack Obama meets Raul Castro, pays tribute to Cuban fighter

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US President Barack Obama, second from left, and Secretary of State John Kerry, left, stand as an honour guard marches during a ceremony to lay a wreath at the Jose Marti monument in Revolution Square in Havana on Monday. Obama's visit to Cuba is being hailed as a historic one as it is the first by a US president in 88 years. AP

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US President Barack Obama instructs members of his delegation to have a picture taken after laying a wreath at the Jose Marti monument. Obama's visit is expected to mend relations between the two countries, who have been at odds with each other since the Cold War. "We felt that coming now would maximize our ability to prompt more change," Obama told ABC News as he started his trip. "Particularly because this has been welcomed by the Cuban people with enormous popularity." AP

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Obama signed the guest book at the Jose Marti Memorial as museum specialist Eva Diaz Torres (C) and others watched. "It is a great honor to pay tribute to Jose Marti, who gave his life for independence of his homeland. His passion for liberty, freedom, and self-determination lives on in the Cuban people today," Obama wrote in dark ink. AP

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Cuba's President Raul Casro, left, walks with US President Barack Obama, as they inspect the guard in Revolution Palace on Monday. The palace was built after the 1959 revolution that turned Cuba into a communist state. Obama's visit has raised hopes among battling Cubans that decades of economic and political stasis may be coming to an end. AP

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Obama and Castro sat down for talks at the palace on Monday. Obama's administration is betting that opening Cuba's economy will be a bridgehead leading to political change. But that has left him open to criticism that he has failed to secure immediate democratic change in return for a high profile presidential visit. AP

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First Lady Michelle Obama joined her husband on his historic visit to Cuba. She spoke with Cuban girls during a Let Girls Learn roundtable at the Fabrica de Arte Cubano in Havana. Let Girls Learn is an initiative launched by the Obamas in 2015 to help overcome obstacles preventing adolescent girls from attending and completing school. AP


Published Date: Mar 21, 2016 11:08 pm | Updated Date: Mar 21, 2016 11:08 pm