President Obama Visits Cuba

History in Havana…President Obama's first steps on Cuban soil mark a notable change in a relationship that's been stormy for more than half a century.

President Barack Obama touched down in Cuba on Sunday for a historic visit -- the first time in 88-years a sitting United States president has stepped foot on the island nation.

The U.S. and Cuba starting mending fences in 2014, after more than half-a-century of animosity. Cuba is located in the Caribbean Sea, only about 90 miles from U.S. shores.  The island nation is under communist rule, unlike our system of democracy here.

Scott Mclean has more on what the president's visit means for the country that's been cut-off from America for more than half a century.


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ITS A MOMENT MANY CUBANS THOUGHT WOULD NEVER COME -- A CURRENT U-S PRESIDENT TOUCHING DOWN IN HAVANA.

RAIN DIDNT KEEP THE PRESIDENT FROM TAKING A TOUR OF OLD HAVANA...WALKING THE COBBLED STREETS PAST ORDINARY CUBANS...

OBAMA'S FIRST STOP WAS THE AMERICAN EMBASSY IN CUBA... A BUILDING THAT RE-OPENED LAST YEAR AFTER MORE THAN 50 YEARS.

this is an historic visit and its an historic opportunity to engage directly with the cuban people.

ALMOST IMMEDIATELY AFTER LANDING, THE PRESIDENT TWEETED THAT HE'S LOOKING FORWARD TO MEETING AND HEARING FROM THE CUBAN PEOPLE.

AMONG THE FIRST -- WAS CARDINAL ORTEGA -- A MAN ONCE IMPRISONED IN CUBA FOR HIS CATHOLIC FAITH, WHO PLAYED A CRITICAL ROLE IN NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN CUBA AND THE UNITED STATES.

BUT THE HISTORIC DAY WAS NOT WITHOUT PROTEST.

FEMALE FAMILY MEMBERS OF JAILED CUBAN DISSIDENTS, DRESSED IN ALL WHITE WERE ARRESTED IN HAVANA, JUST HOURS BEFORE THE PRESIDENT ARRIVED...

AND THERE WERE ALSO DEMONSTRATIONS IN MIAMI, HOME TO THE LARGEST POPULATION OF CUBAN EXILES -- A REMINDER OF DIFFICULTIES THAT REMAIN IN THIS RELATIONSHIP.

AFTER MEETING WITH PRESIDENT RAUL CASTRO ON MONDAY... OBAMA WILL SPEAK WITH DISSIDENTS LATER THIS WEEK. 


Mail service between Cuba and the United States resumed last week and one woman in Havana received a very special letter -- one from President Obama himself. The letter from the president to this Cuban grandmother was one of the first pieces of mail to make it directly from the U.S. to Cuba in half a century.

At this Havana post office letters sent to the United States had to be routed via a third country. But now the direct service delivery will take about two weeks, say the postal workers here.

President Obama met with Cuban leader Raul Castro earlier this week, with the hope of nudging Cuba to allow more democratic freedoms and become open to more American businesses. But he is also hoping to send a bigger message. That diplomacy works when dealing with U.S. foes.

Instructional Links

Encyclopedia Article: World Book Kids, Cuba 

http://206.187.10.207/MuseSessionID=c6c8eb2d4907681b8525da173cf2325/MuseHost=www.worldbookonline.com/MusePath/kids/article?id=ar830474&st=cuba

May Need Password

Images: Behind the Curtain, Cuba

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/galleries/cuba/splash.htm

Website Article, Writing Prompt & Quiz: Newsela, President Obama Knocks on Cuba's door

https://newsela.com/articles/cuba-us/id/6501/

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