The Rolling Stones are making a surprising detour on their Latin American tour. The destination? Havana, Cuba. The concert in Cuba will be a part of the band’s “America Latina Ole” tour, which is currently playing cities like Rio de Janeiro, Bogota, and Mexico City.
The free concert will take place on March 25th in the Ciudad Deportiva de la Habana, a sports arena. This will be the first open air concert in the country by a British rock band. The Rolling Stones commented on their website, “We have performed in many special places during our long career but this show in Havana is going to be a landmark event for us, and, we hope, for all our friends in Cuba too.”
The concert is scheduled just days after President Obama’s first visit to Cuba on March 2l to 22. Obama will be the first sitting U.S. president to travel to the country in 88 years. This is another big step after the reopening of the American embassy in Cuba this past August.
Obama actually announced his upcoming visit via Twitter. “We still have differences with the Cuban government that I will raise directly. America will always stand for human rights around the world,” he tweeted. “Next month, I’ll travel to Cuba to advance our progress and efforts that can improve the lives of the Cuban people.”
The President will meet with Cuba President Raul Castro, as well as entrepreneurs and different members of Cuban society. The President aims to continue to “chart a new course” for U.S.- Cuban relations by connecting U.S. and Cuban citizens through travel, commerce and access to information.
Cubans have also reacted positively to the announcement of the visit. “U.S. President Barack Obama will be welcomed by the government of Cuba and the Cuban people with our traditional hospitality. It will be an opportunity for (the) President to appreciate the Cuban reality,” Josefina Vidal, the general director for U.S. affairs at the Cuban Foreign Ministry said at a news conference in Havana Thursday. “His visit will represent a step forward in relations between Cuba and the US.”
The last sitting U.S. President to visit Cuba was Calvin Coolidge back in 1928. However, President Coolidge traveled to Cuba on a U.S. battleship so this will be a very different type of visit.
I’m very pleased that we have been making such progress in our relations with Cuba and hope that our relationship continues to become stronger.