Obama to end Cuba trip with dissident visit

Mar 21, 2016, 7:39 AM EDT
A Cuban reads on Cuba's Communist Party official newspaper Granma an article about US President Barack Obama on January 20, 2009, in Havana.
(Source: lighthousenewsus/flickr)

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. He will end his short visit by meeting with Cuban dissidents, followed by a baseball game alongside President Raoul Castro. (For more on baseball diplomacy, read: Obama’s Cuban baseball visit could score diplomatic points)

President Obama will also deliver a speech to the Cuban people to be broadcase live across the island by state media. 

Though the visit struck a hopeful note, Obama's meeting with dissidents is a reminder of the lingering tensions between Cuba and the United States. It also, writes Reuters, reflects the president's desire to convince critics at home that his visit would not be used to prop up the Castro government.

Sparring between the two leaders over human rights issues further reflect lingering tensions. On Monday, Castro defended his government's human rights record, stating, "We defend human rights, in our view civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are indivisible, inter-dependent and universal."