President Obama Arrives in Havana for Historic Cuba Visit

President Barack Obama is the first U.S. president to visit the communist island nation since Calvin Coolidge went there in 1928.

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As part of President Barack Obama's ongoing moves to repair U.S.-Cuba relations, he became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge did it in 1928 when Air Force One touched down in Havana today. The New York Times reported that Obama arrived in the island nation along with First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha late in the afternoon at Jose Marti International Airport. 

Hours earlier, as the president was in the air, Cuban police detained a group of dissidents who were holding an anti-government protest outside a church in Havana. Members of that very dissident group, the Ladies in White, are scheduled to meet with Obama at the U.S. embassy during his visit. He's also set to meet with the leader of the island nation's communist government, President Raul Castro, on Monday, and later attend a baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team. 

The visit comes just days after the Obama administration once again loosened restrictions on U.S.-Cuba relations, making it so that Americans will essentially be allowed to travel to Cuba freely on vacation. While restrictions still technically mean that Americans are only supposed to travel to Cuba for religious or academic purposes, the new rules make those restrictions unenforceable and allow Americans to go there without getting prior permission. There are also plans to begin commercial flights from the U.S. to Cuba from a number of airports, meaning Americans will no longer have to take costly charter flights like they do now. 

If you're wondering where you'll stay once you go on that Cuba vacation, there was some other big Cuba news today. Airbnb announced that it will now allow customers from all over the world to book stays in private Cuban homes. As for what could be coming from Cuba to the U.S., rather than the other direction, it was reported last month that the island nation's groundbreaking lung cancer vaccine is closer than ever to undergoing trials in the states.


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