Obama Family Visit Cuba

Barack and Michelle Obama walk through the rainy streets of Havana, Cuba
Barack and Michelle Obama walk through the rainy streets of Havana, Cuba

Historical Context

For more than fifty years, the idea of a Cuban leader welcoming an American president and his family with pomp and circumstance into Havana would have been unthinkable. Cuba, after all, was the communist holdout of the Caribbean - the place where Fidel Castro had invited in Soviet missiles in 1962, causing the Cuban missile crisis and very nearly a nuclear war. Cuba has been under a US economic embargo since then.

That began to change with the administration of Barack Obama. In December 2014, after secret negotiations between the US and Cuba facilitated by Pope Francis, President Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced a process of normalizing relations between the two countries.

Eventually, the US and Cuba reopened embassies in each other's country, some economic restrictions were loosened, and Cuba was removed from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. The 'Cuban thaw' as it became known was capped off by a visit from Barack Obama and his family on March 20, 2016. He became the first US president to visit the island since Calvin Coolidge in 1928.

The administration of Donald Trump has reversed some of the policies of the thaw, with the president calling it "terrible and misguided."

Photo Info

Photographer: Pete Souza
Date taken: March 20, 2016
Location taken: Havana, Cuba

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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