President Obama To Visit Cuba In March
It's official: President Obama is going to Cuba. He confirmed his plans of visiting the island nation next month via social media over a series of optimistic Twitter messages sent out this morning.
"Next month, I'll travel to Cuba to advance our progress and efforts that can improve the lives of the Cuban people," one tweet said. "We still have our differences with the Cuban government that I will raise directly. America will always stand for human rights around the world."
President Obama's trip, which is scheduled for March 21 to 22, will mark the first time that a sitting president has traveled to Cuba in almost 90 years. The last sitting president to visit Cuba was Calvin Coolidge, who made the voyage in 1928 aboard battleship USS Texas to address the Pan American Conference in Havana.
Obama's diplomatic gesture is yet another step in the direction of normalizing relations between Cuba and the U.S. since the president started easing restrictions in December 2014. Earlier this week, the United States and Cuba signed an arrangement that will allow American-owned airline companies to provide regularly scheduled commercial flights from the U.S. to Cuba, as opposed to chartered flights granted only for authorized travel.
Whether or not this upcoming visit will bring American smokers closer to Cuban cigars remains to be seen. The trade embargo is still firmly in place and any realistic hopes of bringing down the economic blockade—which has been in effect for 54 years—would require a congressional vote.
According to media sources, a National Security Council official will make the formal announcement tomorrow at a White House briefing.