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High hopes in Havana ahead of Obama visit

Thursday, March 17, 2016 - 01:21

With U.S. President Barack Obama's historic visit fast approaching, expectations on the island run high. Deborah Lutterbeck reports

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STORY: High hopes in Cuba ahead of the historic visit of U.S. President Barack Obama. Obama is set to touch down March 20, the first time a U.S. president has visited the island since Fidel Castro's rebels overthrew a pro-American government in 1959. Hugo Gutierrez is expecting good things. (Spanish) SELF-EMPLOYED CUBAN, HUGO GUTIERREZ, SAYING: "It's very good, very good. Maybe things change with his arrival. I do not know -- for the better." At Havana's California Cafe American Shona Baum, who is married to a Cuban, is hoping Obama will stop by. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AMERICAN, SHONA BAUM, WHO IS MARRIED TO A CUBAN CITIZEN AND AND IS THE CREATOR OF "CALIFORNIA COFFEE SHOP" IN HAVANA, SAYING: "I'm very excited that President Obama is coming. I'm a huge Obama supporter and to me it's meant so much to have him as a president for us. In fact I actually wrote to the White House and I invited him to come and have a 'mojito' with us while we are here." Last year the number of U.S. visitors to Cuba soared 77 percent in 2015, the hope is Obama will inspire even more American tourists. Obama has already set the stage for that this week -- issuing sweeping regulations to promote even more U.S. travel and trade -- and that's before he has even landed.

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High hopes in Havana ahead of Obama visit

Thursday, March 17, 2016 - 01:21