HAVANA (AP) — Nudging Cuba toward democracy, President Barack Obama will cast a spotlight on political repression and economic misery here Tuesday when he meets with dissidents and speaks to the Cuban people at the close of a trailblazing trip.
Obama’s rationale for coming to Havana is grounded in the notion that direct interaction with Cubans would do more to empower them and bring about change than decades of isolation ever did. So Obama’s speech at the Grand Theater of Havana promises the president his best chance to make his case for the U.S. and Cuba putting the vestiges of the Cold War behind them.
He’ll meet later Tuesday with Cuban dissidents critical of President Raul Castro’s government. The White House says the meeting was a prerequisite for the trip.