74ºF

Obama to take daughters, 'suegra' to Cuba

Historic visit to communist island is a family trip

photo

MIAMI – President Barack Obama will be traveling to Cuba with First Lady Michelle Obama, their daughters, Malia and Sasha, and the First Lady's mother, Michelle Robinson, White House officials said Wednesday. 

The Obama family was expected to tour Old Havana Sunday afternoon, White House Deputy National Adviser Ben Rhodes said during a press conference. 

Obama also plans to attend a state dinner with Cuban President Raul Castro and will deliver a historic speech at the National Theater of Cuba. 

"We see this speech as a unique moment in the history between our two countries" Rhodes said. He added that in the speech, Obama will "lay out his vision"  and during his meeting with Castro "there will be bilateral agreements." 

There was also a scheduled meeting with Cardinal Jaime Ortega, who rose from a labor camp inmate in the 1960s to becoming one of the island's leading political figures. 

"We have great confidence in the ability of the Cuban people to do extraordinary things," Rhodes said. 

Obama does not plan to meet with Fidel Castro, who stepped down as Cuba's president in 2008.

Dozens of U.S. lawmakers, including a handful of Republicans, will also travel with the president to Cuba along with U.S. business leaders and some Cuban-Americans, Rhodes said, arguing that their inclusion reflected growing support in the U.S. for lifting the generations-old embargo.

There are few signs that the Republican-controlled Congress will agree to repeal the sanctions anytime soon.

NEXT STOP 

Following his Cuba trip, Obama will travel to Buenos Aires to meet with new Argentine President Mauricio Macri on Wednesday. 

Macri,  who took office in December, pledged to reverse many of the policies of his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez. The meeting will take place at the Casa Rosada presidential office, before laying a wreath and touring the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral.

Obama will also hold a town hall meeting before a state dinner. He planned to visit the picturesque city of Bariloche in Argentina's Patagonia region on Thursday before returning to Washington.

Obama has said that Fernandez's policies were "consistently anti-American" and praised Macri for recognizing that "we're in a new era."

 


About the Authors: