In Pics: Rain no dampener, Obamas have a historic day out in Havana

  • Agencies, Havana
  • Updated: Mar 21, 2016 16:06 IST

“It is wonderful to be here,” said US President Barack Obama after he arrived in Cuba for a historic visit.

Obama is the first sitting US president to visit Cuba since the 1959 revolution , which heralded decades of hostility.

President Barack Obama, second from left, arrives with first lady Michelle Obama, left, and their daughters Sasha, right, and Malia, as they exit Air Force One at the airport in Havana, Cuba. (AP Photo)

Obama upon his arrival on Sunday, stepped out from Air Force One -- carrying an umbrella as a persistent rain fell on the tarmac. He sent a message to Cubans on a platform that until recently would have been unheard of, CNN reported.

US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle exit Air Force One as they arrive at Havana's international airport for a three-day trip. (Reuters Photo)

“Que bola Cuba?” he wrote on Twitter, using an informal Cuban greeting.

US President Barack Obama holds an umbrella for first lady Michelle Obama as they walk across the tarmac upon their arrival at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana. (AP Photo)

“Just touched down here, looking forward to meeting and hearing directly from the Cuban people.”

Two hours after landing, Obama greeted staff from the US embassy with the words: “It is wonderful to be here”.

US President Barack Obama waves soon after he arrived at Havana's international airport. (Reuters Photo)

“Back in 1928, President (Calvin) Coolidge came on a battleship. It took him three days to get here, it only took me three hours. For the first time ever, Air Force One has landed in Cuba and this is our very first stop.”

US President Barack Obama steps over a puddle while touring Old Havana with his family. (Reuters Photo)

On Sunday, his interactions with Cubans were carefully calibrated. He toured the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception, greeting Cardinal Jaime Ortega, a key proponent of improving ties between the US and Cuba.

US President Barack Obama tours Old Havana with his family. (Reuters Photo)

Crowds had gathered in the faded colonial streets of Old Havana to glimpse Obama and his family (First Lady Michelle and daughters Sasha, Malia) as they passed through on foot.

President Barack Obama and his daughter Malia smile as the visit a monument of Cuban independence hero Carlos Manuel de Cespedes during their visit to Old Havana. (AP Photo)

Later in the evening, Obama dined at a “paladar” -- one of hundreds of privately-run restaurants that only recently became permissible in the state-run economy.

US President Barack Obama's daughters Malia (centre) and Sasha (right) arrive with their parents at the Jose Marti international airport. (Reuters Photo)

Before he departs on Tuesday, Obama will watch the Cuban national baseball team play the Tampa Bay Rays, in town for an exhibition game as US Major League Baseball works to update immigration rules for Cuban players.

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet children of US embassy staff in Havana. (AFP Photo)

The first mail flight between the two countries since 1968 arrived in Havana from Miami on March 16, carrying on it a letter from Obama to a Havana coffee shop owner, a response to a series of missives he had received ahead of his trip.

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