Obama concludes Cuba visit

Havana, March 23 (IANS/EFE) US President Barack Obama concluded a historic three-day visit to Cuba on Tuesday. He was seen off at Jose Marti International Airport by his counterpart and host, Raul Castro.

Air Force One took off from the Cuban capital on Tuesday evening, carrying the president, first lady Michelle Obama, their daughters, Malia and Sasha, to the second and final destination of their Latin American trip, Argentina.

Obama thus wrapped up the first visit to Cuba by a sitting US president since 1928.

The US delegation arrived at the airport from Havana’s Latinoamericano stadium, where the two presidents attended an exhibition baseball game between the Cuban national team and the MLB Tampa Bay Rays.

Obama was greeted with a thunderous ovation at the packed stadium before the game, which ended with a 4-1 victory by the visitors.

Tuesday’s game was the first between Cuba and a Major League squad after the diplomatic thaw between the US and Cuba, a game laden with symbolism of the new era just starting between the two nations at odds for half a century but who have now elected to reconcile – at least partially – despite their differences.

The worldwide rejection of the terrorist attacks in Brussels also figured at the game, where a minute of silence was observed in memory of the 34 people killed in the attacks in the European city.

More than 200 people were wounded in the attacks, responsibility for which has been claimed by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.

Obama and Castro solemnly showed their solidarity with the Belgian people, but later they got into the spirit of the festive atmosphere that prevailed at the stadium.

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