It's Official: Obama Will Travel To Cuba Next Month

Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo.
President Barack Obama has confirmed that he will travel to Cuba in March, the latest in a series of moves to normalize relations with the Caribbean island nation after five decades of severed ties. Obama's visit will include a meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro, as well as meetings with "members of civil society, entrepreneurs, and Cubans from different walks of life," according to a statement released by the White House on Thursday.

The president will travel to Cuba on March 21 and 22 and will be joined by first lady Michelle Obama, the White House confirmed. Obama will be the second U.S. president in history to visit Cuba; the first was Calvin Coolidge in 1928.

The U.S. and Cuba, located about 90 miles from each other, cut ties following the 1959 Cuban Revolution, which toppled authoritarian leader Fulgencio Batista. The revolution's leader, Fidel Castro, later came to power as the country's head of state. Fidel's brother, Raul, has ruled the country since taking over in 2008.

The U.S. and Cuba reopened embassies on each other's soil on July 20 of last year. On Tuesday, the two countries signed an agreement that will allow for the resumption of air travel between the U.S. and Cuba.
President Eisenhower closed the U.S. Embassy in Havana on January 3, 1961, officially severing diplomatic ties. The U.S. embargo against the island, imposed after the 1959 revolution, currently remains in place. Each year, the United Nations General Assembly holds a vote on whether to end the embargo. In 2015, countries in the assembly voted 191 to 2 to condemn the embargo, with only the U.S. and Israel voting in favor of it, according to the BBC.

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