During an unprecedented live TV coverage, US president Barack Obama invoked “future hopes” for Cuban people. The address was delivered in Havana from the Grand Theatre.
Mr. Obama said that his reason for visiting was to bury the remaining Cold War after years of conflicts.
He becomes the first sitting US president to go to Cuba after 88 years.
During his speech on his final day of visit to the Communist-run country, Mr. Obama said that Cuba and the US have to leave their past behind and start working together as friends, neighbors and a family as they approach a brighter future.
He urged the Cubans to let go of their ideological past and define themselves as Cubans and not by opposes to the US.
“For all the politics, people are people and Cubans are Cubans,” he said.
He said that it was time for the US policy towards Cuba to change because it was outmoded and had failed considering it to be a remnant of the Cold War.
His remark was met with a loud applause when he called for the lifting of embargo trade that the US has imposed on Cuba for 54 years now. This remains to be one of the disturbing points in the US-Cuba relations.
He maintained that the US would have respect for the two countries and would not try to bring forced changes on the island that is communist-run.
But he also added that it is belief that citizens ought to have the freedom of speech and choose their government freely via elections.
The speech in the theatre was vintage Obama – it had a narrative, starting with the earlier, dark years of US-Cuban relations that date back to the 1950s.
It also included personal elements since he said that the year of the Bay of Pigs was a time when he was born.
Finally, evocative language could be felt in it – “I know the history, but refuse to be trapped by it” – and several jokes.
Mr. Obama gave an eloquent and moving speech in the theatre.