President Obama plans trip to Cuba, skips Scalia’s funeral

castroPresident Obama will be making an historic trip to Cuba in March, but he won’t be making the much shorter journey to Justice Scalia’s funeral (golf, maybe?):

President Barack Obama will pay a historic visit to Cuba in the coming weeks, senior Obama administration officials said, becoming the first president to set foot on the island in nearly seven decades.

The brief visit in mid-March will mark a watershed moment for relations between the U.S. and Cuba, a communist nation estranged from the U.S. for over half a century until Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro moved toward rapprochement more than a year ago. Since then, the nations have reopened embassies in Washington and Havana and have moved to restore commercial air travel, with a presidential visit seen as a key next step toward bridging the divide.

Obama’s stop in Cuba will be part of a broader trip to Latin America that the president will take next month, said the officials, who requested anonymity because the trip hasn’t been officially announced. The White House planned to unveil Obama’s travel plans later Thursday.

Though Obama had long been expected to visit Cuba in his final year, word of his travel plans drew immediate resistance from opponents of warmer ties with Cuba — including Republican presidential candidates.

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