HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) – President Barack Obama joined Cuba’s ruler Raul Castro in Havana entering this final chapter of the Cold War.
The Cuban government has resisted change for half a century. But now, it is finally slowly showing signs of progress.
A Cuban band played the U.S. National Anthem on Cuban soil as Obama joined Castro.
Obama signed a book to remember a pre-Castro revolutionary. The president delivered a tough message to the Cuban government — begin respecting basic human freedoms.
“We continue as President Castro indicated to have some very serious differences, including on Democracy and human rights, and, President Castro and I have had very frank and candid conversations on these subjects,” he said.
That conversation seemingly thrust into the spotlight after Castro would not answer a question on the country’s political prisoners.
In the past, the Obama administration has given the Castro regime a list of names, but it hasn’t yet reissued that list this trip. Castro has his own set of grievances, including the U.S. embargo that still stands.
Obama assured Castro those restrictions would be removed eventually.
It’s yet another sign of improving relations between the two countries.
“America wants to be your partner. Around this visit, American companies are moving ahead with new commercial deals,” Obama said.
Tuesday, the president will deliver an address to the Cuban people.
He’ll once again call for an expansion of human rights in Cuba. Then, he will watch a baseball game between the Cuban National Team and the Tampa Bay Rays.