HAVANA (AP) — The Latest on President Barack Obama’s trip to Cuba (all times local):
It’s a typically sleepy Sunday morning along Havana’s Malecon boulevard, which is largely deserted a few hours ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama’s arrival in Cuba, except for a few joggers, fishermen and pelicans.
Roberto Albar is a 68-year-old retiree. He sees the thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations as a sign that both countries can benefit from the relationship.
He says “we are practically neighbors” and Cuba’s political system “doesn’t mean we have to be enemies.”
Albar says he hasn’t seen any significant change in Cuba in the year since ties were restored. Pointing to his decaying house near the sea, he says “that’s falling down, and the poor are still poor.”
The U.S. has given the online lodging service Airbnb a special license that allows travelers from around the world to book stays in private homes in Cuba.
Airbnb was the first major American company to enter Cuba after American President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro declared detente on Dec. 17, 2014.
The online service handles listing, booking and payments for people looking to stay in private homes instead of hotels. Cuba has become its fastest-growing market, with about 4,000 homes added over the last year.
Airbnb had only been allowed to let U.S. travelers use its services in Cuba under a relatively limited U.S. exception to a trade embargo. That limit has been lifted.
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU