The brief visit in mid-March will mark a watershed moment in relations between the U.S. and Cuba, making Obama the first sitting U.S. president to set foot on the island in nearly seven decades. While in the country, Obama plans to meet with groups advocating for change in Cuba, a condition the president had laid out publicly for such a trip.
We still have differences with the Cuban government that I will raise directly, Obama wrote on Twitter in announcing the visit. America will always stand for human rights around the world.
Cuban Foreign Trade Minister Rodrigo Malmierca, on a visit to Washington, told The Associated Press that Obamas visit is good news for Cuba.
The president will be welcomed, he said in Spanish.
The U.S. was estranged from the communist nation estranged for over half a century until Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro moved toward rapprochement more than a year ago. Since then, the nations have reopened embassies in Washington and Havana and have moved to restore commercial air travel, with a presidential visit seen as a key next step toward bridging the divide.