By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — U.S. President Barack Obama has arrived in Havana for the start of a historic trip to Cuba — the first by a U.S. president in 88 years and a major step toward improving relations strained since Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution.
Obama tweeted “¿Que bolá Cuba?” — Spanish for “How’s it going?” — upon arrival for his 48-hour visit, which comes 15 months after he reversed more than half a century of U.S. policy on Cuba and started normalizing relations.
The highest-ranking Cuban official to greet Obama on the ground at Havana airport was Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla.
Obama was scheduled to meet with Cuba’s President Raul Castro as well as political dissidents.
However, a dissident protest in Havana on March 20 was broken up just hours before Obama’s arrival and about 50 demonstrators were detained.
Since the Cuban president and Obama spoke in an extended phone conversation in December 2014, Havana and Washington have restored diplomatic ties, signed telecommunications deals, and agreed to scheduled airline services.
But major differences remain – including a 54-year-old U.S. economic embargo against Cuba.