POLITICS

Obama To Visit Cuba Next Month

He'll be the first sitting president since the 1920s to visit.

President Barack Obama announced on Thursday that he would travel to Cuba next month, making him the first sitting American president to visit the country since 1928.

Obama will travel to the island March 21-22 with first lady Michelle Obama. The president's visit comes more than a year after he ordered the United States to re-establish full diplomatic relations with Cuba.

In a statement, the White House said Obama will hold a bilateral meeting with Cuban President Raúl Castro and "engage with members of civil society, entrepreneurs and Cubans from different walks of life."

Last summer, Cuba reopened its embassy in Washington and Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Havana to raise the American flag over the U.S. embassy there for the first time in 54 years.

While Obama touted the progress that has been made with Cuba, he also tweeted Thursday that there are still "differences" between the U.S. and Cuba that he will raise during his visit.

Ben Rhodes, an Obama adviser, wrote in a post on Medium that there is still distance between the two countries on human rights.

"We continue to oppose and speak out against restrictions on rights like freedom of speech and assembly  --  and space for independent civil society  --  that the United States supports around the world. While we do not seek to impose change on Cuba, we strongly believe that Cuba will benefit when the Cuban people can exercise their universal rights," Rhodes wrote.

Also on HuffPost:

  • People watch as the Cuban flag is raised in front of the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C. for the first time in 54 years on
    jfeltman08/Instagram
    People watch as the Cuban flag is raised in front of the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C. for the first time in 54 years on July 20, 2015.
  • Crowds outside the Cuban Embassy after opening for the first time in 54 years on July 20, 2015.
    kidpoetic/Instagram
    Crowds outside the Cuban Embassy after opening for the first time in 54 years on July 20, 2015.
  • Crowds gather before the Cuban Embassy opens for the first time in 54 years in Washington, D.C.
    jhncchrn/Instagram
    Crowds gather before the Cuban Embassy opens for the first time in 54 years in Washington, D.C.
  • Demonstrators, supporters, critics and journalists crowd the sidewalk across the street from the Cuban Embassy as the Cuban f
    Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images
    Demonstrators, supporters, critics and journalists crowd the sidewalk across the street from the Cuban Embassy as the Cuban flag is raised in front of the building for the first time in 54 years July 20, 2015 in Washington, D.C. 
  • Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez (2nd R) applauds as the Cuban flag is raised in front of the country's embassy for the
    Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images
    Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez (2nd R) applauds as the Cuban flag is raised in front of the country's embassy for the first time in 54 years July 20, 2015 in Washington, D.C. 
  • Cuban Embassy employees shout 'Viva Cuba!' as the Cuban flag is raised in front of the building for the first time in 54 year
    Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images
    Cuban Embassy employees shout 'Viva Cuba!' as the Cuban flag is raised in front of the building for the first time in 54 years July 20, 2015 in Washington, D.C. 
  • Cuban Embassy employees watch as the Cuban flag is raised in front of the building for the first time in 54 years July 20, 20
    Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images
    Cuban Embassy employees watch as the Cuban flag is raised in front of the building for the first time in 54 years July 20, 2015 in Washington, D.C. 
  • The Cuban flag is raised in front of the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C on July 20, 2015.
    dennis5gonzalez/Instagram
    The Cuban flag is raised in front of the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C on July 20, 2015.
  • Crowds gather before the Cuban Embassy opens for the first time in 54 years in Washington, D.C.
    cultdivated/Instagram
    Crowds gather before the Cuban Embassy opens for the first time in 54 years in Washington, D.C.
  • The Cuban flag flies in front of the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C., on July 20, 2015.
    ashleybbauman/Instagram
    The Cuban flag flies in front of the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C., on July 20, 2015.
  • The Cuban flag is raised in front of the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C., on July 20, 2015.
    craigskipper/Instagram
    The Cuban flag is raised in front of the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C., on July 20, 2015.
  • After the flag was raised at the Cuban Embassy, visitors took photos of the embassy from inside on Monday July 20, 2015 in Wa
    jarrettbarrios/Instagram
    After the flag was raised at the Cuban Embassy, visitors took photos of the embassy from inside on Monday July 20, 2015 in Washington, D.C.
CONVERSATIONS