Monday, March 21, 2016

CUBA - President Obama's Visit (including full news conference)

"Why the significance of Obama’s trip to Cuba differs for both countries" PBS NewsHour 3/20/2016


SUMMARY:  Christopher Sabatini, a professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, joins Alison Stewart to discuss President Obama's historic visit to Cuba and the new era of U.S.-Cuba relations.

ALISON STEWART (NewsHour):  Wheels down in Havana for Air Force One, as Barack Obama becomes the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge almost 90 years ago.  It was raining as the first family got off the plane, to be greeted by Cuba’s foreign minister.

While still on the plane, President Obama tweeted:  “Que bola, Cuba?”, or “What’s up, Cuba” in Spanish.

The President will spend a busy two days on the communist-ruled island nation, which has been preparing for his visit.

Only eight months after the flag was raised at the reopened U.S. Embassy in Cuba, for the first time in more than half-a-century, the streets of Havana are decorated with American flags and images of President Obama.

The President and the first family are beginning their Cuban visit with a walking tour of historic Old Havana tonight.  Mr. Obama will meet tomorrow with Cuban President Raul Castro and attend a state dinner.  The President has no plans to meet with former President and revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, older brother of the current president.

But he does intend to spend time on Tuesday with critics of Castro’s government, many of whom have faced arrests for their outspoken opposition.

The White House would not disclose which dissidents Mr. Obama will see, but insists the list is not negotiable.

JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary:  But I can tell you that the President is going to move forward and host meetings and have a conversation about human rights with the people that he chooses to meet with.

ALISON STEWART:  This afternoon in Havana, police arrested dozens of anti-government dissidents from the so-called Ladies in White group.  The President will also deliver a speech at the National Theatre of Cuba, where he plans to lay out his vision for how the two countries can work together.

He will also catch a baseball game between Cuba’s national team and the Major League Tampa Bay Rays.  And in a video released online by the White House yesterday, the President joked with Cuba’s most famous comedian, Luis Silva, who often satirizes the failings of the Cuban government and economic system.

Earlier, I spoke with Christopher Sabatini, a professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, about this new era in U.S.-Cuba relations.

"Latest from Cuba:  Castro, Obama had ‘frank’ conversation on human rights" PBS NewsHour 3/21/2016

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