President Obama arrived in Cuba on Sunday afternoon at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, where he was welcomed by Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, instead of by President Raul Castro.
Shortly before his arrival, @POTUS tweeted the following:
¿Que bolá Cuba? Just touched down here, looking forward to meeting and hearing directly from the Cuban people.
— President Obama (@POTUS44) March 20, 2016
Minister Rodriguez presented the women with flowers and told President Obama that it was a great pleasure to have him in the country. He introduced the president to Josefina Vidal, who headed the negotiations that led to the reconciliation of the two countries, and her deputy, Gustavo Machin.
OnCuba will be binging you live updates of this historic visit:
The presidential plane took off from the Andrews air base outside Washington at 1:32 p.m. It landed in Cuba less than three hours later. Obama was joined by First Lady Michelle Obama, their two daughters, and his mother-in-law.
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) March 21, 2016
The first tour of the presidential family took place under intense rain. Guided by the Historian of the City of Havana, Eusebio Leal, and protected by a large body of security, they departed from the building that marks the foundation of the city: El Templete. Across from a statue in tribute of the hero considered in Cuba the “Father of the Homeland” they were shown the holy tree that has just been planted to replace an old one, a mythical symbol of the city. Leal told them the story of the foundation of the city.
Leal also guided them through the Museum of the Captain Generals, ,where he explained to the guests the deep roots that connect Cubans and Americans for many years.
The delegation said goodbye to Leal, and then they went for a walk of the cobblestoned streets of Old Havana. At the Havana Cathedral they were welcomed by Cardinal and Archbishop of Havana Jaime Ortega. That was the last event in the official agenda for the day.