On Sunday, President Obama made good on his promise to visit Cuba with Michelle, Malia, and Natasha in tow. In doing so, Obama became the first U.S. president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge popped over to the island nation in 1928. Obama visited without leisure in mind, for this trip will crown 15 months of renewed diplomatic efforts. These measures saw the Cuban embassy springing back to life in Washington D.C., and Obama’s efforts were acknowledged by Human Rights Watch, which has long aimed criticism at President Raul Castro’s continuation of Fidel’s reign of repression.
Indeed, Obama expressed hope that his visit will help normalize relations between the two countries and improve living conditions for the Cuban people. Here’s some CNN video footage of Air Force One touching down.
Prior to Obama’s arrival, however, Cuba arrested about 50 protesters marching for improved human rights. The Ladies in White embarked upon their weekly Sunday march in a Havana suburb, and one of the founding members, Berta Soler, told USA Today that the group is often arrested. Soler hoped that this weekend’s march would be different with Obama’s arrival:
“Everything looks good so far. For us, it’s very important that we do this so President Obama knows that there are women here fighting for the liberty of political prisoners. And he needs to know that we are here being repressed simply for exercising our right to express ourselves and manifest in a non-violent way.”
Soler and company were still arrested even with plenty of reporters on the scene. As a result, news cameras captured this footage.
Here are more photos of the Obama family arriving in Cuba.