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Obama planning historic trip to Cuba to cement warmer ties

Obama planning historic trip to Cuba to cement warmer ties
President Obama's historic visit to Cuba will be part of a broader trip to Latin America. (Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

President Obama will embark on a historic and long-awaited trip to Cuba next month, becoming the first sitting president since 1928 to visit the island nation.

The visit will help usher in a new era of detente between the two countries that began at the end of 2014 when Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced a thaw after a half-century of frozen relations.

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Obama will travel elsewhere in Latin America, according to a senior administration official, who would not be named ahead of a detailed announcement expected from the White House on Thursday.

The Obama administration is eager to make rapid progress on building trade and diplomatic ties with Cuba before Obama leaves office. The two nations signed a deal Tuesday restoring commercial air traffic for the first time in five decades.

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President Coolidge went to Havana in January 1928 to give a speech to the 6th International Conference of American States, according to the State Department historian's office, which records the foreign travel of presidents and secretaries of State. President Truman visited Guantanamo Bay, which is controlled by the United States, so that was not considered a visit to the country; he didn't meet with any Cuban government officials, according to his presidential library.

President Carter has paid multiple visits to the island since leaving office.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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