Eyeing new future with US, Cubans await visit by Obama

President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, says that the U.S. will seek to halt the increasing threat of piracy off the Horn of Africa as he also praised the U.S. military's successful rescue of merchant Capt. Richard Phillips, who had been held hostage for several days by Somali pirates, Monday, April 13, 2009, during remarks at the Transportation Department in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

HAVANA (AP) – It’s a historic milestone for U.S.-Cuban relations as President Barack Obama leaves today for the first presidential visit to the island nation in nearly 90 years.

Joined by his family, Obama will stroll the streets of Old Havana and meet with Raul Castro in his presidential offices. He will sit in the stands with baseball-crazed Cubans for a historic game between their beloved national team and Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays.

Obama also will meet with political dissidents. Some Cuban-Americans see Obama’s outreach as a disgraceful embrace of a government whose practices and values betray much of what America stands for.

His statements alongside Castro and dissidents will be closely watched for signs of how aggressively he is pushing for reform.

The visit is seen as a powerful symbol of the new relationship the two countries are forging.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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