President Barack Obama talks to media in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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President Barack Obama Thursday announced a historic visit to Cuba next month, speeding up the thaw in relations between the two Cold War former foes but igniting opposition from Republicans at home.In the first U.S. presidential trip to the Caribbean nation in nearly 90 years, Obama will meet with Cuban President Raul Castro, entrepreneurs, and "Cubans from different walks of life" during the trip on March 21 and 22, the White House said.Obama said that while the United States still has concerns about human rights in Cuba, it has already made significant progress in renewing relationships.Obama still seeks to pressure U.S. lawmakers to remove the decades-old embargo on Cuba but Republicans control Congress and are unlikely to act soon.Republican Senator Jeff Flake from Arizona, who supports ending the sanctions, said the Obama visit could help open Cuba up to the world.
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