HAVANA, March 20 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama arrived in Cuba on Sunday on a historic visit, opening a new chapter in U.S. engagement with the island's Communist government after decades of animosity between the former Cold War foes.
Obama landed at Havana's Jose Marti International Airport aboard Air Force One, the presidential jet with "United States of America" emblazoned across its fuselage, a sight almost unimaginable not long ago.
Stepping down onto the red carpet in a light drizzle, Obama and his family were greeted by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, the top Cuban official present. The formal welcoming ceremony will be on Monday when Obama meets Cuban President Raul Castro at the presidential palace.
The three-day trip, the first by a U.S. president to Cuba in 88 years, is the culmination of a diplomatic opening announced by Obama and Castro in December 2014, ending a Cold War-era estrangement that began when the Cuban revolution ousted a pro-American government in 1959.
This is historic, folks! Only a democratic POTUS could have done this. I enjoyed the live coverage of Air Force One landing at Havana's Jose Marti International Airport.
But, as usual, not all agree..
Antonio Tremols doesn't agree. The retired Miami resident and former company executive left Cuba in 1960, when he was in his 20s, after seeing three university friends executed and others thrown in prison.
"I have come to the conclusion that the only reason is that Obama has a very big ego and wants to go down in history as the president who went to Cuba and met with a dictator," Tremols said. "I don't see how the Cuban people are going to benefit from Obama's trip. How will this help the average Cuban?"
Joe Cardona, a Cuban-American documentary filmmaker and Miami Herald columnist, said he isn't against engagement with Cuba, but against how it's been executed. Cardona said he voted twice for Obama and "supports his agenda in almost everything ... but Cuba came from left field."
"Why not hold off on the presidential trip until you get something in return that benefits the Cuban people?" he said, such as free Internet throughout the island and acknowledgment of political opposition in Cuba.
No need to quote GOP leaders and candidates, specially since they are on record for their comments back in 2008 about a "one term President" Passionate to the end, the GOP is taking a one year campaign vacation to decide how to deal with their demon candidate(s).
Oh, and there's a baseball game and the Rolling Stones by weeks end. A pretty busy week ahead.