President Barack Obama to make historic Cuba visit in March

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US President Barack Obama has confirmed he will visit Cuba in March as part of a broader trip to Latin America.

He will be only the second sitting US president in history to travel to the island’s capital of Havana.

US Republicans have criticised the visit, saying it should not take place while the Castro family is in power.

Washington and Havana restored diplomatic tieslast July and the US relaxed travel and trade restrictions after a 54-year freeze.

The US president confirmed his Cuba trip in a post on Twitter, saying: “Next month, I’ll travel to Cuba to advance our progress and efforts that can improve the lives of the Cuban people.”

He will be joined by his wife, Michelle, travelling to the island on 21 to 22 March, before embarking on a two-day visit to Argentina, the White House said in a statement.

“This historic visit – the first by a sitting US president in nearly 90 years – is another demonstration of the president’s commitment to chart a new course for US-Cuban relations and connect US and Cuban citizens through expanded travel, commerce, and access to information.”

He will be the first US president to visit Havana since Calvin Coolidge in 1928 – President Harry Truman visited the US-controlled Guantanamo Bay in 1948, and former President Jimmy Carter has visited Cuba several times since leaving office.

President Obama is expected to meet members of civil society, entrepreneurs and “Cubans from all walks of life”.

But Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, both sons of Cuban migrants, said the visit was a mistake.

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