President Obama Meets With Raul Castro for a Historic Meeting in Cuba


A day after making history by becoming the first sitting US president to visit Cuba in 88 years, President Barack Obama joined Cuban president Raúl Castro for a joint press conference inside the Palace of Revolution in Havana, where the two leaders candidly discussed the steps both countries would need to take to begin normalizing relations.

“This is a new day—es una nueva día—between our two countries,” Obama said.

In their addresses, both leaders acknowledged the profound differences that remained between the two countries on subjects such as human rights and democracy. Castro urged the United States to lift decades-old economic sanctions and also called for its departure from Guantanamo.

“We recognize the position President Obama is in and the position his government holds against the blockade, and that they have called on Congress to lift it,” Castro said.

Then, in the rare Q&A session that followed, Castro appeared defensive when asked about the regime’s political prisoners. “Give me a list of those political prisoners and I’ll release them,” he said. “If we have those political prisoners they will be free before nighttime.”

His frustration continued when Obama gently nudged him to answer another question, this time about human rights violations. (Castro had said he’d answer just one question.) “Human rights,” he eventually said, “should not be politicized.”

With such remarks, it’s not exactly surprising the press conference ended on this uncomfortable note:

MORE: How did the Obama administration finally break through years of deadlock on Cuba? Read our story on the crazy back-channel negotiations here.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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