Obama expected to visit Cuba in March: report

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Washington, Feb 18: US President Barack Obama is likely to make a historic visit to Cuba next month, the first sitting American president to go to the island nation in 80 years, as the two Cold War-era foes make efforts to normalise their ties, a media report has said.

The news was first reported by ABC News which said that the announcement could be made today. "The trip is planned for March 21-22 before the president flies to Argentina," the news channel reported yesterday. Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio, who is of Cuban descent, slammed Obama for his planned trip to Cuba.

Barack Obama

Rubio said if he was the president, he would not visit the island nation unless it were a "free Cuba". The Cuban government is "an anti-American communist dictatorship. They are a repressive regime," he said. The White House did not immediately comment on the potential trip of the US President to Cuba.

Obama's reported to visit Cuba comes roughly 15 months after his pledge with Cuban leader Raul Castro to reopen diplomatic channels following a prisoner exchange and the humanitarian release of US contractor Alan Gross in December 2014.

Thereafter the two countries have moved ahead to restore diplomatic ties after decades and the US lifted sanctions on Cuba. The two countries have also decided to resume direct flights. Calvin Coolidge was the last US president to visit Cuba in 1928.

He went there to address the Sixth Annual International Conference of American States in Havana. Former US president Jimmy Carter visited Cuba twice in 2002 and 2011, but two decades after he left the office.


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