Hollande in Cuba on historic visit
11 May 2015, Nirapad News: Francois Hollande arrived in Havana late on Sunday, the first French president to visit Cuba in more than a century, cementing Paris’ lead in the EU rapprochement with the communist island.
Hollande is also the first Western leader to visit Cuba since a surprise announcement in December by Havana and Washington that the former Cold War foes would seek to normalize relations after half a century of bad blood.
Hollande arrived at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport and was greeted by Cuba’s deputy foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra.
His visit is aimed at boosting French and European Union interests in Cuba, which has undergone gradual economic and social reforms under Castro.
France is seeking to ‘be the first among European nations, and the first among Western nations, to be able to say to the Cubans that we will be at their side if they decide themselves to take needed steps toward opening up,’ Hollande told reporters before leaving for Havana, according to The Straits Times.