OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE

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16:10.-Barack Obama and his family set off and this historic official visit to Cuba comes to an end. Obama will travel to Argentina to meet with his counterpart Mauricio Macri.

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16:06.- Obama and family enter the plane ready for take off.

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16:05.- The last official photos are taken and Obama and Raúl bid each other farewell.

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16:02.-Obama bids farewell to Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla.

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16:01.-Obama bids farewell the diplomatic staff from the U.S. Embassy in Cuba.

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16:00.- President Obama and family are on the runway approaching Air Force One, accompanied by President Raúl Castro.

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15:50.- The “beast” – Obama’s limousine has arrived at the airport.

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15:25.-Obama due to arrive at the José Martí International Airport shortly. The media are ready and waiting.

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15:20.- Air Force One is on the runway at the José Martí International Airport. It is expected that Obama will take off shortly.

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14:52.-The President of the United States, Barack Obama, leaves the baseball game taking place in Havana. He is accompanied by President Raúl Castro.

Photo: Twitter

13:05.-Tampa Bay Rays begin warming up in the Latinoamericano stadium.

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Photo: Twitter

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Photo: Twitter

13:02.- The Latinoamericano Stadium has recently undergone extensive restoration works. Below are images of the stadium today, in the lead up to this historic game:

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12:15.- The much anticipated baseball game between Cuba and the U.S. Major League team Tampa Bay Rays, will commence at 2.00 p.m. in Havana’s Latinoamericano Stadium, in the municipality of Cerro. The stadium is home to Havana’s Industriales baseball team and has seen a number of historic events.

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11:32.-Yoel Ortega: I believe this visit says a lot about our nation and what Cuba can offer the world. Many peoples draw inspiration and hope from the example of Cuba. Cuba is a small country, but at the same time it is huge.

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11:31.-Yoel Ortega, president of the Cuban Council of Churches, noted that Cuba has seen many changes, the Cuban people have always struggle for progress and change, both in Cuba and across the world. While Obama noted that differences continued, he was clear about respect for sovereignty.

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11:31.-Orlando Gutiérrez: It is not a cliché to say that we can not move forward as long as the blockade exists and the territory of the U.S. naval base in Guantánamo is not returned. Obama says he trusts in the Cuban people. We too trust in our people.

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11:30.-The religious figure noted that Cubans enjoy guaranteed human rights, such as universal access to health and education. He noted that both President Obama and the Cuban people had shown respect on listening to each others views, and that any internal problems on the island would be resolved by the Cuban people.

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11:30.-Orlando Gutiérrez, of the Supreme Council of the Abakua Societies of Cuba, noted that this moment has been reached thanks to the resistance of the Cuban people, together with international solidarity efforts.

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11:29.-Elier Ramírez highlighted that Radio and TV Martí are still operating, designed to promote internal destabilization. He also stressed that we cannot speak about sovereignty without addressing the issue of the illegally occupied territory of the U.S. Naval Base in Guantánamo, which must be returned to Cuba.

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11:28.-Elier also stressed that programs funded by the U.S. to promote internal destabilization in Cuba continue. He noted that the U.S. blockade violates the human rights of the Cuban people.

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11:27.-Elier Ramírez, who researches on the United States, assured that President Obama still has many executive powers to strip the blockade of the majority of its content. He noted that the President’s speech was an example of “soft politics”, and that much of what he expressed was at odds with the view of Cuba. However, he acknowledged that Obama had praised Cuba’s efforts in health and education.

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11:26.-Following Obama’s speech, Cuban reporters spoke to some of those attending regarding their opinions. A representative of the Federation of Cuban Women noted that Cubans will continue to defend their sovereignty and Revolution.

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11:26.-Following Obama’s speech, Cuban reporters spoke to some of those attending regarding their opinions. A representative of the Federation of Cuban Women

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10.52.- Obama concludes with the Spanish phrase “Sí se puede” (yes, we can).

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10.51.- Obama notes that “My time here in Cuba renews my confidence” in what the Cuban people can do.

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10.50.- Obama: “It is time now for us to leave the past behind.” The U.S. President states that both nations should look to the future together.

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10.48.- Obama refers to examples of Cuban families that have been reunited after years of separation and calls for reconciliation between those in the U.S. and Cubans on the island: “Sometimes the most important changes start in small places.”

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10:51 – Obama calls to leave behind ideological battles of the past, and work toward greater rapprochement between Cuban American community and Cubans on the island.

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10:50 – Obama emphasizes Cuba’s contribution to Colombia Peace Talks and regional cooperation.

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10:49: Obama recognizes contribution and impact of Cuban healthcare workers worldwide, cites collaboration between U.S. and Cuban sectors inn fight against Ebola.

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10:48 Cuba continues to play important role in hemisphere and around globe, notes Obama, expresses desire to develop relationship with island, and become an important “partner” of the country.

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10:47 – Obama states U.S. represents no threat to the Cuban people.

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10:45 - Obama expresses ideas on improving society. Makes an appeal to Cuba youth to “lift something up, build something new.”

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10:44 - Obama recalls progress made in the U.S. on the basis of open debate and popular mobilization, citing civil rights achievements, gains in women’s and gay rights. Criticizes inequality and concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.

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10:43 – Obama highlights that he and President Castro have had “frank conversations” who “pointed out flaws in American system,” including the death penalty, racial discrimination, wars abroad.

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Photo: Twitter

10:40 - Obama quotes Marti - “liberty is the right of every man to be honest,” emphasizes universal rights –education, religion, democratic elections, health.

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10.38.- Obama: U.S. does not have the intention to impose change on Cuba. Every country and every people must chart its own course.

Obama: Before 1959, some Americans saw Cuba as something to exploit, ignored poverty and corruption. “I know the history, but I refuse to be trapped by it.”

Obama notes that sustainable prosperity in the 21st century is dependent on education, healthcare, etc.

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10.36.- Obama is met with wide applause as he reiterates his position on the need to lift the blockade, which he calls an “outdated burden on the Cuban people” and on those Americans who want to work, do business and invest in Cuba.

President Obama states that the change in policy is focused on supporting Cubans rather than hurting them. Increased travel will help to build bridges between the two peoples and bring revenue to small businesses in Cuba. He added that Cuba and the U.S. are working together to find cures to diseases.

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10.35.- Obama referred to his conversations with Cuban self-employed workers and small business owners yesterday afternoon. He noted that they can succeed by sustaining a distinctly Cuban spirit.

Obama: “A country’s greatest asset is its people.” The U.S. President notes that

Cuba has a unique education system that values every boy and every girl.

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10.32.- Obama states: “We should not fear change, we should embrace it.” He emphasizes “I believe in the Cuban people,” noting that the process to normalize relations does not just refer to the Cuban government, but to the Cuban people. He continues: “I want the Cuban people, especially the young people, to understand why I believe you should look to the future with hope.”

Obama notes that this change in policy toward Cuba still has opponents: “Many ask why now?” He notes there is one simple answer: “What the United was doing was not working. We have to have the courage to acknowledge that truth.” He adds that the blockade was only hurting Cuban people not helping them.

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10.31.- President Obama notes that since the announcement on the process to reestablish relations, various bilateral agreements have been reached on health, agriculture, education, law enforcement, direct flights and mail service, and that he has made it easier for Americans to travel and do business in Cuba.

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10:30 - Obama traces cultural, historical, religious and sporting links between Cuba and the U.S. emphasizing “common values” and exchanges between citizens from both sides of the Florida Straits such as Hemmingway, Marti, Jackie Robinson and Mohammad Ali. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

10:28 - Obama states: “I have come here to bury the last remnants of the Cold War in the Americas.”

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10:26 - Obama recalls history of U.S.

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10.20.- Obama: “Havana is only 90 miles from Florida, but to get here we had to travel a great distance.”

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10.19.- President Obama refers to the famous poem by Cuban national hero José Martí, “Rosa Blanca” (White Rose), in which he offered friendship and peace to both his friends and his enemies. Obama states that he brings a “saludo de paz” (message of peace) to the Cuban people.

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10.18.- Obama: “I want to thank you for the kindness you’ve shown to me” and my family

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Photo: captura de la televisión

10.17.- Obama referred to the terrorist attacks in Belgium today and sent thoughts and prayers to victims, adding “We must stand together.”

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10.16.- Obama: “It is an extraordinary honor to be here today.”

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Photo: Twitter

10.15.- President Obama thanks Raúl and the Cuban people for their warm welcome

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10:06.-Obama arrives at the Gran Teatro and greets President Raúl and Prima Ballerina Assoluta Alicia Alonso.

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09.56: Obama set to speak at the Gran Teatro Alicia Alonso ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Photo: Granma

09:53.- Delegations starting to arrive at the Gran Teatro Alicia Alonso where President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak later this morning.

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09:45.- Cuba and Raúl hashtags trending on social media since U.S. President arrived to the island on March 20.

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09:30.- President Obama’s visit to Cuba continues. This morning the U.S. President will speak before representatives of Cuban civil society at the Alicia Alonso Gran Teatro de la Habana, and in the afternoon attend a friendly baseball game between Cuba and the Tampa Bay Rays.

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Monday, March 22, 2016.

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18:25.- Brian Chesky, CEO of AirBnB, notes that they have 4,000 registered accommodations in Cuba and hope this is just the beginning.

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18:22-White House Press Conference from Havana: Carlos Gutiérrez notes that the current policy on Cuba comes at the correct time. This U.S. citizen of Cuban origin served as Secretary of Commerce under President George Bush.

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18:20-Gutiérrez stressed that Cuba is the only country in the world to which U.S. citizens can not freely travel as tourists and called for change.

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18:19-Following the Forum, Carlos Gutiérrez, chair of the U.S.-Cuba Business Council, spoke to reporters. He noted that despite differences on issues such as human rights, there is the willingness to work together. He highlighted that U.S. companies are coming to Cuba to explore possibilities and urged them to continue to do so.

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Photo: Screenshot

17:27-Obama concludes his participation in the Business Forum and notes that he is convinced that the two countries can enjoy excellent collaboration going forward.

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17:26-He adds that the current process offers new opportunities to develop ideas for collaboration.

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17:23-Obama notes that changes are necessary both in Cuba and the U.S. to improve economic ties.

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17:18-Obama asks her how the U.S. could help businesses such as her own – whether she requires finance, internet access, training. Indira responds that all these areas are important. Obama notes that cell phone apps are very important to younger generations today, such as his own daughters.

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Photo: Screenshot

17:16-Indira Fernández, founder of Isladentro, noted that her project consists of a mobile app which serves as a business guide, including both state and private sector restaurants, beauty parlors, etc.

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Photo: Screenshot

17:15-Obama notes that collaboration is underway regarding the Zika virus and other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes.

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17:13-Obama noted that scientific advances should be shared. Despite political differences, each population suffers from the same illnesses.

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17:10-The Dr. noted that there are various Cuban produced vaccines and medicines that could help patients in the U.S. She added that academic collaboration, clinical tests on cancer treatments, and other areas are possibilities in the health sector between the two countries.

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17:07-The Cuban specialist notes that the island works in several spheres, and highlighted the fight against Ebola and programs such as Operation Miracle. She also noted collaboration through ALBA, with programs to support people with disabilities.

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Photo: Screenshot

17:06-Lilian, PHD in Medical Sciences, shares her experience of international medical collaboration with Obama.

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17:05-The U.S. President noted the interest in his country regarding organic produce, something Cuba has valuable experience with. He added that he hoped they would soon be able to export equipment to the island.

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17:02-Obama notes that the U.S. Agriculture Secretary is in Cuba as part of his accompanying delegation and is meeting with Cuban government representatives to speed up cooperation in this sector.

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17:01-He notes that the reasons are clear, due to the blockade, the equipment and supplies they require have to come from third countries, when they could be sourced in the U.S.

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16:59-Abelardo notes that they produce potatoes, plantain, carrots and other products. He explains that irrigation equipment is required as what they currently use is very old and they have difficulty buying replacement parts.

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16:58-Obama asks him about his best produce and the equipment that he lacks.

16:57-Abelardo Álvarez Silva, president of a small agricultural credit and services cooperative, explains that the organization has 182 members and enjoys autonomy. He notes that their varied produce is destined for hotels and state institutions, such as maternal care centers.

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16:54-Brian, who founded RPIB, notes that Cubans open up their homes to visitors from the U.S. and the exchanges that take place on a people-to-people basis are very interesting.

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16:53-While noting the efforts of Cuban medical personnel abroad, Obama fails to mention the U.S. policy encouraging them to desert their posts and emigrate to the U.S.

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16:52-Obama notes that Cuba does not only have material goods to offer for export. He highlights the Cuban professionals, including doctors and nurses, who are highly qualified and offer services across the world. He notes that other possible sectors for exports are fashion and engineering.

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16:51-Responding to a question regarding the needs of Cuban small businesses, Idania explains that they would like to know more about the regulations and the possibility of exporting their products to the U.S.

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16:50-Cuban graphic designer Idania del Río begins to talk about her experiences. She founded Clandestino, a brand working with young designers.

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16:49-Obama notes that he discussed with President Raúl the initiatives underway in Cuba to encourage and support the self-employed sector.

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16:47-Obama congratulates Gilberto, and stresses the importance of his work. He notes that in the U.S., barbers and hairdressers are key spaces in local communities.

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16:46-Gilberto: We are committed to social values. We help anyone who wishes to train as a hairdresser. Today we have ten deaf women training with us.

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16:45-Gilberto states that this is a historical opportunity to ensure the private sector is committed to its role within society. He continues that today 95% of hairdressers work in the private sector.

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16:45-Gilberto Valladares, a Cuban hairdresser, shares his experience of self-employment with Obama.

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16:44-Obama concludes by reiterating the interest in supporting Cuban businesses and an exchange begins, moderated by Cuban-American Soraya Obrian.

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16:42-Obama notes that various U.S. companies have expressed interest in supporting Cuban students in their use of information technology.

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16:40-Obama notes that María Contreras will lead a delegation in Cuba to ensure better business ties.

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16:39-Obama notes that 15 Cuban businesspeople will travel to the U.S. to receive training.

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Photo: Screenshot

16:38-One form of helping Cuban businesses would be to lift the blockade, Obama notes.

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16:36-Obama jokes regarding the creativity of Cubans, demonstrated in the fact that they have managed to keep so many old American cars functioning.

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 16:36-Obama notes the high educational and skills level of Cuban workers and the advantages this offers to businesses.

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 16:32-The Cuban economy is changing and a new generation of businesspeople is emerging, Obama says.

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16:30-Obama notes that many present are self-employed, who have small businesses including restaurants and beauty parlors. He says he enjoyed the food he and his family ate at a Cuban privately run restaurant last night.

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16:29-Obama praises Cuban efforts and expresses the desire of his administration to support small business on the island.

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16:28-The Cuban government has adopted various measures and is welcoming U.S. business, Obama notes.

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16:26-Obama notes that he is not here to offer a speech, but to exchange with those present.

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16:25-President Barack Obama arrives at the Business Forum taking place in the former Wood and Tobacco Warehouse in Old Havana.

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16:12- The Secretary of Commerce concludes by noting that both nations are keen to work together to ensure a better future, with improved economic ties.

16:07- Pritzker adds that the Obama administration is dedicated to connecting the two countries and offering access to their respective markets.
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16:04.-U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, takes the floor and explains that the creation of business opportunities between the two countries is a challenge.

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16:02.-Malmierca notes that the human capital, trained thanks to the Revolution, is one of the key strengths of the island. He adds that the removal of the blockade is key to ensuring the full economic potential of Cuba.

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16:01.-Malmierca welcomes President Obama to the Forum and stresses that the Cuban market offers opportunities without discrimination of any kind.

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16:00.- Malmierca notes that a process of separating state and non-state functions is ongoing, with various negotiations having taken place in the business sector, including authorization for several projects in the Mariel Special Development Zone. He added that Cuba has increased financial credibility.

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15:58.- Minister Malmierca notes that Cuba is undergoing a process of updating its economic model, and progress will be analyzed at the upcoming Party Congress.

15:55.-Cuban Minister for Foreign Trade and Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca, speaks at the Cuba-U.S. Business Forum taking place in Old Havana.

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15:47.- Daniel Schulman, CEO of Paypal, explains that there is willingness on both sides to resolve problems. Paypal was fined almost 8 million dollars last year for processing Cuban transactions. He added that his company could ensure faster international transfers for Cubans living in the U.S. sending money to their families in Cuba. He notes, “We still need to understand exactly what spaces have opened up for us.”

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15:45.- Aurelio Mollineda, director general of the Foreign Trade Business Group (GECOMEX), created on June 25, 2013, notes that Cuba is completely open to trade with the United States, adding that “It remains up to them to lift the restrictions.”

15:44.- Víctor Manuel, who runs cell phone support company Promóvil, based in Havana, notes that many online services remain inaccessible to Cubans.

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15:42.-The Business Forum continues. Juan González, president of Cuba Ron explains that Cuba has the potential to export top quality Cuban rum to the U.S. market, if it opens up to Cuban exports.

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15.10.- The press conference concludes and the Presidents leave the Palace of the Revolution.

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15.06.- President Raúl calls on all countries to work to ensure they comply with all human rights.

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15.04.- Raúl stresses that if the issue of human rights continues to be politicized, it will be an obstacle to further progress. He explains that the most fundamental human rights, including universal health care, education and equal pay for equal work, are guaranteed in Cuba, whilst this is not the case in many other parts of the world.

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15.02.- President Raúl notes that 61 international instruments on human rights exist, yet no country in the world complies with every single one. Cuba complies with 47 of these human rights instruments, there are many countries that comply with less.

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15.00.- Responding to a question regarding differences on human rights between the U.S. and Cuba, Obama notes, “Keep in mind, I have fierce disagreements with the Chinese regarding human rights.” He explains that despite differences, his policy has been to engage with countries across the world, as a “more useful strategy.”

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14.59.- Obama notes that in order to accelerate the pace of ending the blockade, they must take advantage of changes already made, which in practice will help to validate this change in policy. He noted that for example, telecommunications companies can invest in Cuba, and that if progress in seen in this area, as well as in agriculture, where certain modifications have been made, this can be built on to increase pressure to end the blockade. He stresses that “rigid disengagement” for 50 years didn’t work

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14.58.- Obama continues by stating: “The embargo (blockade) is going to end.” He adds that “The reason is logical, what we did for 50 years did not serve our interests or the interests of the Cuban people,” and thus it makes sense to try a new approach.

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14.57.- Obama notes that the fact that he is accompanied by Congress members demonstrates that there is growing interest in the U.S. in lifting the blockade, something he hopes to see before the end of his term in office, and that this visit sends a clear signal that there is at least engagement between these two countries.

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14.56.- President Obama responds by outlining some of the modifications made to the application of the blockade by this administration. While noting that more can be done, he stresses that real change relies on Congress repealing the blockade law.

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14.55.- Andrea Mitchell, from NBC, asks how much progress can be made, when the two continue to have such great differences.

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14.54.- President Raúl adds that he is certain the two nations can coexist peacefully and collaborate in many fields as has already been demonstrated, for example in Haiti and in the fight against Ebola in Africa.

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14.52.- President Obama states “We do not view Cuba as a threat in the United States.” He adds “I welcome President Castro commenting on areas where he feels we are falling short,” and stresses that progress can continue to be made with frank and candid discussions regarding their differences.

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14.51.- The two Presidents take questions from the press. In response to a series of questions, President Obama begins by noting that “Our starting point is we have two different systems.”

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foto: TN.com

14.50.- Obama thanks President Raúl and the Cuban government for their efforts to support the Colombian peace process. He states, “I think it’s fair to say that the United States and Cuba are more engaged than at any other time in my lifetime.” The U.S. President concludes: “As you indicated the road ahead will not be easy,” adding that “Despite the difficulties we will continue to move forward,” to ensure “a better and brighter future” for the Cuban and American people.

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14.49.- Obama notes progress in partnerships in health, science and the environment. He offers a “special commendation to Cuban doctors” who fought Ebola in west Africa. The President notes that going forward, Cuba and the U.S. will collaborate on combating the Zika virus and on the production of cancer vaccines.

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14.48.- President Obama notes that there is increasing collaboration in telecommunications, to expand internet access across the island. He also noted that the two countries are moving ahead with more educational exchanges, and that there will be increased opportunities for U.S. students to study in Cuba and for Cuban students to study in the U.S. He also promised more English language training for Cuban teachers, in Cuba and online.

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14.47.- Obama: “We continue to move forward on many fronts with respect to normalized relations.” The U.S. President notes that more U.S. citizens are now visiting Cuba and “We’re moving ahead with more trade. With only 90 miles between us, we are natural trading partners.”

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14.46.- Obama notes that President Castro has also expressed views on shortcomings in the U.S. and states, “We welcome that constructive dialogue as well.” He adds that both countries can learn from each other through exchanges on the basis of mutual respect.

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14.45.- Obama: “I affirm that Cuba’s destiny will not be decided by the United States or any other nation.” Cuba is sovereign and the future of Cuba will be decided by Cubans.

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14.44.- President Obama stresses that he has held “very frank and candid” talks with his Cuban counterpart on a wide range of issues.

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14.43.- Obama notes that the objective is to advance the mutual interests of the Cuban and American people. He stresses that: “The relationship between our governments will not be transformed overnight.”

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14.42.- Obama noted that he is accompanied by several members of Congress, who recognize that improved relations are beneficial to both peoples. He stressed, “For many this is a time for new hope.”

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14.41.- Obama: “This morning I was honored to pay tribute to José Martí.” The President continued: “I bring with me the greetings and friendship of the American government and people.”

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14.40.- President Barack Obama began by expressing thanks for the welcome he and his family had received in Cuba and stated “This is a new day between our two countries.”

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14:37.- Raúl ended reiterating his appreciation for President Obama’s visit.

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14:36.- A long and complex path lies ahead, but the important thing is that we have taken the first steps toward a relationship that has never before existed, the Cuban President emphasized.

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14:30.- It is a challenging endeavor, he said, but recalled the effort and perseverance of endurance swimmer Diana Nyad who crossed the Straits of Florida on her fourth attempt. Her message is a powerful one, which we should emulate, he said.

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14:20.- Raúl recalled his statement on December 17, 2014, when he expressed his hope that the two countries could learn the art of coexisting in a civilized manner despite differences. He said that the new relationship between the two countries should contribute to peace, stability, development and equity here and around the world. Civilized coexistence, Raúl said, means accepting and respecting differences, but these need not be the center of our relationship. The focus, he said, should be on what brings us closer.

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14:18.- The President said that in terms of human rights, Cuba has much to say and show and is willing to continue the dialogue on this issue. He noted that the Cuban government believes that civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are indivisible, interdependent and universal. He added that Cubans find it inconceivable that a government does not guarantee free access to universal healthcare.

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14.15.- Raúl noted that there was a lack of time to continue discussions, but one area which he would have liked to have raised with Obama was the continued destabilization in Venezuela, as well as the ongoing Columbian peace process.

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Raul noted that they had also discussed international issues, particularly regarding international peace and security.

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14.12.- The Cuban President stresses that the removal of the blockade is crucial to normalized relations and will benefit the people of both countries. The territory illegally occupied by the Guantanamo Naval Base will also need to be returned in order for relations to be normalized. Both of these issues have been extensively discussed in the national media and by the Cuban Foreign Ministry.

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14.07.-Cuban enterprises and their U.S. counterparts are currently working to identify business opportunities in various sectors. Some have already materialized, especially in the area of telecommunications, in which Cuba has a program to ensure technological sovereignty and the interests of the country.

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14.05.-President Raúl explains that various bilateral agreements have been signed to date, including on cooperation in health and agriculture.

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14:00.-President Raúl Castro begins statements to the press.

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Photo: Jorge Legañoa Alonso

13:40.-Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, spoke with Cuban students regarding their experiences, as part of the agenda of activities during the official visit.

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13:38.-The Cuba-U.S. Business Forum comes to a close.

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13:37.-CEO Daymond John asks a question regarding the challenges small businesses in the computer sciences sector face. Víctor Montana explains that there is difficulty in accessing the support and direct communications with engineers in the U.S., from example from Apple, but Cubans have found alternatives. If there was access to this information and communications support, their work would be much easier.

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Photo: Laura Bécquer Paseiro Photo: Granma

13:30.-Ana Teresa Igarza, ZEDM director, explains that it remains a challenge to attract investors in the Zone. She adds that technology and personnel training have been important areas and that to date, there are 13 approved projects in the ZEDM, using mainly Cuban personnel, given their high skill level.

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13:26.-A question and answers session begins.

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13:25.-BUSINESS FORUM: Víctor Lazo Montana, representing a group of young Cubans who have started up private businesses, explains that they have recently formed the Union of Computer Scientists.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------13:24.-Raúl and Obama shake hands as the official talks at the Palace of the Revolution come to an end.

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13:20.-BioCubaFarma is a Cuban business group founded on November 27, 2012, by the Council of Ministers with the aim of producing medicines, state-of-the-art equipment and services for export and to improve the public health system.

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13:18.-Daymond John presents Norkis Arteaga, head of the BioCubaFarma business department.

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13:16.-FUBU CEO Daymond John presents the president of a passenger transport cooperative operating across Havana.

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13:14.-The Director of the Mariel Special Development Zone, Ana Teresa Igarza, takes the floor to detail the business opportunities offered by Cuba.

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13:06.- FUBU chief executive officer, Daymond John takes the floor. The clothing company was founded in 1992.

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13:03.-Contreras comments that Cuba has lots of talent to offer and recognized U.S. companies efforts to do business with the country, emphasizing that the potential is great.

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13:01- The head of Cuba’s Chamber of Commerce, Orlando Hernández Guillén, and María Contreras Sweet, U.S. small business director address Forum.

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13:00.-The Cuba-U.S. Business Forum opens in the colonial era Hardwood and Tobacco Warehouse.

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11:12 Presidents Raúl Castro and Obama move to hold a private meeting.

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11:09 Raúl first shakes the hand of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Obama greets Esteban Lazo, president of the National Assembly of Peoples Power first, and next Miguel Diaz-Canel, First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers.

11:07 The two Presidents review Cuban troops dressed in ceremonial uniforms and proceed to greet members of their respective delegations.

11:05 Ceremonial reception begins with the Cuban national anthem followed by that of the United States. Presidents Obama and Raúl Castro stand side by side at attention.

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11:00 President Raúl Castro greets President Obama in the Palace of the Revolution prior to the formal ceremonial reception.

Photo: captura de la televisión

10:50 Obama is touring the monument in the company of Salvador Valdés Mesa, a Council of State vice president and long-time leader of the Federation of Cuban Workers.

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10:47.-President Obama visits José Martí museum and signs visitors book, noting his impressions

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Photo: Twitter


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09:15.-President Barack Obama’s scheduled activities for today, Monday March 21: 10:25am: Ceremonial placement of floral wreath at José Martí Memorial in the Plaza de la Revolución. 10:30am: Tour of the José Martí Memorial museum 11:00am: Arrival at Council of State headquarters, the Palace of the Revolution 11:15am: Ceremonial reception in the Palace of the Revolution , with official talks to follow with President Raúl Castro Ruz 2:00pm: Statements to the press by both Presidents 4:00pm: Cuba-U.S. Business Forum

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Sunday, March 20

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20:50.-John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State, announces his return to Havana, this time accompanying President Obama.

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19:12 President Obama spoke with the press at the U.S. embassy after touring Old Havana, saying than the day was a “historic” one, and that, during his stay, he intended to share his “vision” for a “future that is brighter than the past.”

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18:18.-Obama tours the interior of the Captain Generals' Palace, where he admires a painting of Abraham Lincoln.

Photo: teleSUR English Photo: TELESUR

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Photo: teleSUR English

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18:16.-The Palace hosted the 65 Captain Generals sent from Spain to govern Cuba, as well as the U.S. Administrator during the intervention in the island from 1898 -1902. Once Cuba became a Republic, the building served as the Presidential Palace until 1920.

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Photo: teleSUR English twitter account

17:50.-Cuba is a trending topic on Twitter

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Photo: Yaimí Ravelo

16:55.-Obama is expected to visit Havana’s central historic district, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982, including a stop at the city’s Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, also the Catholic Archdiocese headquarters.

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Photo: captura de la televisión

16:42 During his first moments on Cuban soil, with rain falling, Obama greets representatives from the Cuban Foreign Ministry and members of the U.S. diplomatic corps before entering his limousine - transported to Cuba several days ago - bearing on its front fender both at U.S. and a Cuban flag.

Photo: captura de la televisión

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Photo: captura de la televisión

16:39 President Obama descends the airplane’s staircase with Michelle. They are greeted by Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.

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Photo: Twitter

16:35 Cuban dignitaries to greet Obama move onto the tarmac.

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16.25 Airforce One with President Obama and his entourage aboard has landed at Havana’s José Martí Internacional Airport.

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15:20 –The U.S. President is traveling to Cuba accompanied by his wife Michelle and his two daughters, Malia and Sasha, together with members of his cabinet and Republican and Democrat senators.

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15:20 –The U.S. President is traveling to Cuba accompanied by his wife Michelle and his two daughters, Malia and Sasha, together with members of his cabinet and Republican and Democrat senators.

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15:15.-Obama’s visit to Cuba comes 15 months after the announcements by himself and President Raúl Castro regarding the decision to begin the process to reestablish diplomatic relations between the two countries, on December 17, 2014.

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15:00.-Barack Obama is the first U.S. President in office to visit the island in 88 years. The only other U.S. President to have done so was Calvin Coolidge, who arrived in Havana in January 1928 to attend the Sixth Pan-American Conference.

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15:15.-Obama’s visit to Cuba comes 15 months after the announcements by himself and President Raúl Castro regarding the decision to begin the process to reestablish diplomatic relations between the two countries, on December 17, 2014.

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15:00.-Barack Obama is the first U.S. President in office to visit the island in 88 years. The only other U.S. President to have done so was Calvin Coolidge, who arrived in Havana in January 1928 to attend the Sixth Pan-American Conference.


14:20.- Dr. Agustín Lage announced during a press conference this Sunday

morning, that Cuban biotechnology products could begin to be used by U.S. patients, as more than 30 Cuban patents have been approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

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Photo: Desconocido

14:15.- The press room at the Hotel Habana Libre has seen various press conferences with the participation Cuban personalities such as Rodrigo Malmierca, Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment and Agustín Lage, director of the Center of Molecular Immunology in Havana. The space is now preparing for Obama’s visit.

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Photo: Granma

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13:45.-

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13:40.- The Air Force One aircraft, just before setting off for Havana.

Photo: Screenshot

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13:35.-International media begin reporting on Obama’s visit to Cuba

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13:30.-The President of the United States, Barack Obama, departs for Cuba from Andrews Air Force Base.