Obama vows to help Cuban entrepreneurs, improve internet access

Havana, March 22 (IANS) US president Barack Obama has vowed to help Cuban entrepreneurs prosper and said that he will continue working to adopt changes that would improve and increase access to internet on the island, the media reported on Tuesday.

Obama became the first president to visit Cuba after nearly 90 years. He arrived on the island on Sunday.

After his meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro at the Palace of the Revolution on Monday, Obama participated in a business forum with Cuban entrepreneurs, US businessmen and representatives from Cuban state companies, EFE news reported.

The Cuban economy “is beginning to change”, said Obama as he praised the spirit of the Cuban entrepreneurs and highlighted that the US is ready to help them succeed.

“The bottom line is that we believe in the Cuban people,” he said.

According to the president, the future of the Cuban economy and its ability to meet the aspirations of its people depend on the growth of the private sector parallel to the actions of the government, a task that “is not easy”, he admitted.

Obama stressed that there are still “very few” Cubans with internet access and those who do usually have “expensive and slow” connections.

According to Obama, the US wants to help Cuba and cited examples of measures that companies such as Verizon and Stripe are taking to facilitate communications with the island.

President Obama’s three-day visit marks the culmination of a thaw in relations between Washington and the Communist island that began in December 2014 – 55 years after Fidel Castro seized power.

The last and only American president to visit Cuba while in office was Calvin Coolidge in January 1928.

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