In an effort to end a decades-long frozen relationship between the U.S. and Cuba, President Barack Obama made history when he became the first president in nearly 90 years to visit the island siloed from the rest of the world since the Cold War conflict.
Obama — who touched down in a rainy Havana with First Lady Michelle Obama, her mother, Marian Robinson, and their daughters, Sasha and Malia Obama on Sunday — took to Twitter to announce his arrival before the family was swept away for tours of the city’s mostly unchanged and historic district.
¿Que bolá Cuba? Just touched down here, looking forward to meeting and hearing directly from the Cuban people.
In a meeting with U.S. Embassy staff in Havana, the president remarked that his visit as a sitting U.S. president would be a normal sight for the country in the years to come.
“For the first time, the American flag flies over an embassy, and having the embassy here means we can more effectively advance our interests and values and understand the Cuban people and their concerns,” Obama said.
“We hope they think it’s natural that a U.S. president would visit Cuba and the two peoples are working together,” he added.
The trip, applauded by many and a welcome sight for Cubans who cheered “USA!” at Obama’s arrival, was condemned by members of the GOP, who have long criticized the president’s efforts to open the lines of communication between the island and the U.S.
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump pointed out Raul Castro’s absence at the airport for Obama’s arrival, suggesting that the Cuban president had no respect for Obama.
Wow, President Obama just landed in Cuba, a big deal, and Raul Castro wasn't even there to greet him. He greeted Pope and others. No respect
Sen. Ted Cruz, another of the party’s presidential hopefuls and the son of a Cuban immigrant, also commented on Obama’s trip, calling it a “sad day in American history.”
“For decades, leftists and Hollywood liberals have made the pilgrimage to Cuba to pay homage to Fidel Castro and Raul Castro,” Cruz said in response to a question in Peoria, Arizona, where he was campaigning at Fresh Start Church.
“It’s very chic, it’s very chichi for leftists to celebrate vicious communist dictators,” Cruz said. “I cannot wait as president to visit Cuba, but when I visit Cuba, it will be a free Cuba.”
SOURCE: NBC | VIDEO SOURCE: Inform | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty