Obama: We are here to extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people

Obama: We are here to extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban peopleHAVANA, Cuba, Mar 22 (acn) – We are here to extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people, said on Tuesday the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, at Havana’s Alicia Alonso Grand Theater. The U.S. president spoke to civil society from the emblematic building, in the presence of Army General Raul Castro, President of the Councils of State and Ministers.

We arrived today to bury the last vestiges of Cold War, of the time of conflict between the U.S. and Cuba, said the dignitary while acknowledging the contradictions that have existed for more than 50 years between the two governments.

Our differences are real and important, he said, while acknowledging cultural values shared between the Cuban and U.S: societies, in addition to points in common in history, religion and sports.

We are like brothers separated for a long time although we share the same blood, Obama said after reciting, in perfect Spanish, a verse of a poem by Marti, Cultivo una rosa blanca, and give the Cuban people a greeting of peace.

It is time to lift the “embargo”, he insisted, referring to the economic, commercial and financial blockade that still persists, and assessed that this siege as an “obsolete burden on the Cuban nation.”

He suggested that in this road workers can broaden their employment opportunities and even access to the Internet to connect with the world, considering that the technological potential of the network of networks must be maximized.

He lamented the calamities existing in Cuba before the triumph of the Revolution in 1959, “but we can not be held hostage to history,” he said.

A policy of isolation in the 21st century makes no sense, insisted the head of the White House, while stressing that his country “has neither the capacity nor the intention to impose changes in Cuba,” since changes depend on its people.

We should not fear change, but look for it, said Obama pointing the importance of the process towards normalization of relations between Cuba and the U.S., and reaffirming his willingness to look into the future “with hope and respecting differences.”

In another moment of his speech, he praised the quality of the island’s education and health systems as well as the transformations undertaken by the Cuban nation by way of the updating of its economic model.

At the beginning of the public speech, Obama condemned the terrorist attacks of Tuesday morning in Brussels, capital of Belgium, and said that it’s important that nations of the world unite, regardless of race or religion.

Also present at the theatre were authorities of the Cuban state and government, as well as personalities of the field of culture, among which prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso, in addition to members of the visiting presidential delegation, stood out.

With this activity, Obama came closer to the end of his official visit to Cuba, scheduled to be completed in the next few hours after his attendance to a friendly game between the island’s national team and the Tampa Bay Rays of the U.S. MLB.


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