President Barack Obama toured Old Havana on 20 March, on a historic visit that opens a new chapter in US engagement with the island's government after decades of animosity between the former Cold War foes. Travelling with first lady Michelle Obama, her mother and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, the president played tourist on his first night on the Caribbean island, taking in the sights of Old Havana.
Accompanied by the city's official historian, Eusebio Leal, the Obamas had a walking tour of the city museum at the Plaza de Armas where they could be seen looking at a painting of former US President Abraham Lincoln, a hero to Fidel and Raul Castro.
As they walked across the Plaza de la Cathedral, crowds of Cubans could be heard cheering and Obama turned to wave to the onlookers. He walked up the steps to the Colonial-era church where Cardinal Jaime Ortega, the archbishop of the archdiocese of Havana, greeted the first family. Ortega was reportedly instrumental in the rapprochement between Cuba and the U.S.
The tour opens Obama's three-day trip, the first by a US president to Cuba in 88 years. The trip is the culmination of a diplomatic opening announced by Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro in December 2014, ending a Cold War-era estrangement that began when the Cuban revolution ousted a pro-American government in 1959.