President Barack Obama announced Thursday on Twitter that he’s going to Cuba next month, which will be the first time a sitting president has visited the country since 1928.
The US recently restored diplomatic relations with the communist country after a 54-year break.
“14 months ago, I announced that we would begin normalizing relations with Cuba — and we’ve already made significant progress,” Obama tweeted.
In subsequent tweets, he said:
Our flag flies over our Embassy in Havana once again. More Americans are travelling to Cuba than at any time in the last 50 years. We still have differences with the Cuban government that I will raise directly. America will always stand for human rights around the world. Next month, I’ll travel to Cuba to advance our progress and efforts that can improve the lives of the Cuban people.
Obama also tweeted a link to a post on the website Medium that explains the thinking behind his trip.
Ben Rhodes, a national security adviser to Obama, wrote that the president will “have the opportunity to meet with President [Raul] Castro, and with Cuban civil society and people from different walks of life” on the trip.
“Yes, we have a complicated and difficult history,” Rhodes wrote. “But we need not be defined by it. Indeed, the extraordinary success of the Cuban-American community demonstrates that when we engage Cuba, it is not simply foreign policy — for many Americans, it’s family.”
In August, Secretary of State John Kerry became the first top US diplomat to visit Cuba in 70 years when he went to reopen the US embassy in Havana.
The US and Cuba severed ties in 1961 in the heat of the Cold War.
Since relations between the two countries thawed, travel restrictions have been loosened and US Agency for International Development contractor Alan Gross was released from Cuban prison. The US also took Cuba off its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.