US President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro met today in Havana’s Palace of the Revolution for groundbreaking talks on ending the standoff between the two neighbours.
Obama was received by Cuban President Raul Castro in Havana on Monday at the start of historic talks where the US leader will press his counterpart for economic and democratic reforms while hearing complaints about US sanctions.
Obama arrived in Cuba on Sunday on a trip that comes 15 months after he and Castro agreed to end five decades of Cold War-era animosity and work to normalize relations.
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On the first full day of his visit, he went to the heart of Cuba’s Communist system, laying a wreath in Revolution Square at the memorial to independence hero Jose Marti.
He moved on to the nearby Palace of the Revolution, where Castro and his predecessor, older brother Fidel Castro, have led Cuba’s resistance to US pressure going back decades.
A US presidential visit to the inner sanctum of Cuban power would have been unthinkable before Obama and Raul Castro’s rapprochement in December 2014.
Obama, seeing Castro only for the third time in a formal setting, was the first US president in Cuba since 1928.