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Published: 19:31 BST, 20 March 2016 | Updated: 05:22 BST, 21 March 2016
Pictures of Fidel Castro's meeting with Venezuela's president Nicolas Maduro have been released on the same day of Obama's historic Cuba visit.
Barack Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to visit the communist country in nearly 90 years as he and his family touched down in Havana on Sunday afternoon for a three-day visit.
The U.S. president will meet with Cuban dictator Raul Castro during his visit, as well as dissidents of the authoritarian government. But he has no plans to meet with Raul's brother Fidel Castro, the former Cuban dictator and revolutionary, on the historic trip.
Today Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has released images of his meeting with a frail-looking, wheelchair-bound Castro to discuss expanding an cooperation agreement between their two countries, Actualidad reports.
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Pictures of a frail, wheelchair-bound Fidel Castro meeting with Venezuela's president Nicolas Maduro have been released on the same day of Obama's historic Cuba visit
U.S. President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle, and their daughters Malia and Sasha, exit Air Force One as they arrive at Havana's international airport for a three-day trip to Cuba on Sunday
Barack Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to visit in nearly 90 years. Barack and wife Michelle take their first steps on Cuban soil above
'It is a privilege to continue nourishing the wisdom of one of the political fathers of our giant Chavez,' he said in an official statement on his social media.
'Conversing with him, we reiterate that follow the path of victory which both began in particular I assume a great responsibility to continue that legacy love and fight for the welfare of all peoples of America and the world, 'he said in a commentary accompanying the publication.
'Long Live Fidel! Long Live Chavez! Long live the brotherhood among peoples of Venezuela, Cuba, and the whole world!'
The 1950s era Cuban revolutionary, Fidel, turned over power to his brother in 2006 temporarily for health reasons and made the transition permanent in 2008.
The 88-year-old has rarely been seen in public since handing over power, prompting rumors that he is in failing health. His last observed outing was in February.
According to local media, Maduro announced the creation of a special commission to engender closer relations between Venezuela and Cuba over the next decade
'Neither we nor the Cubans have pursued such a meeting,' Rhodes said Wednesday.
The president's spokesman on Friday said Obama will not shy away from using his 'bully pulpit' on the trip to address human rights violations in the communist country that the United States was estranged from for more than 50 years.
He'll also give a televised speech from Havana's national theater, Gran Teatro Alicia Alonso.
'For more than 50 years, we tried a strategy of saying, well, why don't we just try to ignore the Cubans and see if they change their mind on their own. Not surprisingly, that strategy didn't really work very well, so we're trying a new approach,' White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Friday.
Earnest said, the new approach is 'the President of the United States is going to get on Air Force One, he's going to fly to Havana, Cuba, and he is going to sit down with the leader of Cuba and say, you need to do a better job of protecting the human rights of your people.
'He's going to give a speech to the Cuban population, to the Cuban people, one that will be carried on TV, according to the Cuban government, where the President will advocate for better respect for human rights.
And while he's in town the president will 'visit with people who have previously been victimized by the government, and encourage them to continue to fight for the kinds of universal human rights that we deeply cherish in this country.'
'That is effective advocacy for American values. That is effective advocacy for the kinds of principles that we cherish in this country and in our government. And it is, by the way, an approach that is strongly supported by the vast majority of the Cuban people,' the White House official said.
The President waves to waiting crowds as he boards Air Force One with wife Michelle. It is the first visit to the island by a sitting President in more than 90 years
President Barack Obama (left) with first lady Michelle Obama, daughter Malia and Sasha and first lady's mother Marian Robinson, board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force base in Maryland for their trip to Cuba
Touching down: The First Family arrive in Havana where it was raining as they got off the aircraft
THE OBAMAS' TOUR OF HAVANA
The first day of the president's trip to Cuba will see the entire first family, including Michelle Obama's mother, Marian Robinson, take a tour of Old Havana.
The setting for portions of The Godfather II, the movie was actually filmed in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
As part of their 'cultural outreach' they will stop by the Havana Cathedral to see Cardinal Jaime Ortega.
The Cuban cardinal played a crucial role in the thawing of relations between the United States, the White House says.
The cathedral is a UNESCO designated a World Heritage Site.
They'll also greet staff at the recently reopened U.S. Embassy in Cuba.
The president will honor José Marti, a hero in the Cuban revolt against Spain, by laying a wreath at his memorial on, a 358 foot tower, in Havana's Plaza de la Revolución, on Monday morning.
That president and first lady will participate in a State dinner hosted by the Cuban government at the Palace of the Revolution.
The following morning the president will give a speech at the Havana's national theater, Gran Teatro Alicia Alonso.
The whole family will attend an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and Cuban National Team at their stadium before leaving for Argentina on Tuesday afternoon.
The U.S. operated out of the building during the detente between the U.S. and the Castro regime from 1977 until the summer 2015 but it was under the authority of the Swiss government, which served as the protecting power.
It officially assumed the role of the United States' mission in Cuba on July 20, 2015 when diplomatic ties were formally restored.
Monday morning the president will honor Cuban revolutionary José Marti, a hero in the Cuban revolt against Spain, by laying a wreath at his memorial, a 358 foot tower, in Havana's Plaza de la Revolución, before his meeting with Raul Castro that morning.
The president will be 'very candid about areas of disagreement' at their meeting, said Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, 'including the human rights practices that have concerned us in Cuba and our support for universal values in Cuba.'
Both presidents are expected to deliver statements after the meeting and the White House indicated on Friday that Obama would likely take questions from the press, though a formal news conference has not been scheduled.
It is the first visit to Cuba by a sitting US president since Fidel Castro's guerrillas overthrew the US-backed government of Fulgencio Batista in 1959 and the first since President Calvin Coolidge's trip to the island 88 years ago.
The visit to Cuba by Obama follows an agreement between the countries more than a year ago to begin normalizing relations, and 'it signals a new beginning' between the two countries, acting U.S. Ambassador to Cuba Jeffrey DeLaurentis told reporters Wednesday.
While many have welcomed the thaw in relations between the former Cold War foes, not everyone is so keen for Barack's visit.
In Miami's Little Havana neighborhood, hundreds turned out to demonstrate against Obama's visit to the Communist nation and called for democracy to be brought to Cuba.
Many held up signs, written in Spanish, criticizing the president such as one which read: 'Barack Obama is complicit with these rats'.
Protests also kicked off in Cuba today, as demonstrators, from both sides, clashed in the streets of Havana as Obama arrived in the country.
Welcome: President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha walk in downtown Old Havana, Cuba, on Sunday
Several hundred people protested against US President Barack Obama's three-day visit to Cuba in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, Florida
One man, protesting against Obama's visit, held up a sign in Spanish, which read: 'Barack Obama is complicit with these rats'
The group of Cubans, in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood, also called for democracy for the communist island nation
Hundreds gathered around the memorial to the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 to protest the visit
In Cuba, a member of the Ladies in White Human Rights organization is arrested during a march in Havana. Dissidents called on the eve of the visit for US President Barack Obama to promote 'radical change,' notably a 'stop to repression and use of physical violence against all political and human rights activists.'
The march of dissident group the Ladies in White - who regularly take to the streets to protest against political repression on the Communist - had their demonstration broken up by pro-Cuban government supporters and police.
Around 50 people were arrested in the in the protest - just hours before the U.S. president was due to arrive.
Obama will meet with dissidents on Tuesday including the leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, has been invited. She was among those detained on Sunday.
The Cuban government dismisses dissidents as mercenaries seeking to destabilize the country.
Ahead of Obama's visit the United States Treasury Department eased restrictions on travel to Cuba, ending a requirement that Americans visiting for educational purposes go in groups.
Tourist travel will still be illegal - only Congress can lift that ban - but the government will now use the 'honor code' to regulate approved travel, making it much easier for Americans to travel to the country for any purpose.
The new rules will also allow Cubans to open accounts at U.S. banks and financial institutions to process American money coming out of Cuba.
It will further rescind a 10 percent charge on converting U.S. dollars to Cuban convertible pesos and allow mail, cargo and transportation companies to have direct presences in the communist country.
Cuban nationals may now be hired at U.S. businesses, as well.
This rule change could have an immediate effect on hiring within Major League Baseball teams, though it is still up to the Cuban government to approve a direct hire process that would allow natives of the country to join U.S. team without defecting.
HISTORY OF U.S. CUBA RELATIONS
Exclusive club: President Calvin Coolidge is the only US president to visit Cuba back in 1928
The last and only U.S. president to visit Cuba was Calvin Coolidge in 1928.
Obama becomes the first sitting president to set foot there in 88 years on Sunday.
The U.S. and Cuba were not on speaking terms for more than 50 years following the 1959 revolution led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara that overthrew Western-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista.
They installed a communist government and nationalized private businesses, including ones owned and operated by U.S. citizens.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower responded with an embargo and cut off ties with the country a year later.
On April 17, 1961, President John F. Kennedy authorized a failed attempt to overthrow Castro, known as the Bay of Pigs invasion. The next year his administration expanded the embargo against Cuba to cover all areas of the economy.
Eight months later Cuba allowed the Soviets to build a missile base on the island as part of a secret accord, leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis and near nuclear war.
The 13-day stand-off involved U.S. naval ships surrounding the country until the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. came to an arrangement. The Soviets backed out of Cuba, America abandoned missile bases in Turkey and Italy.
Further sticking it to the Castro regime, President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966 approved the Cuban Adjustment Act, which allowed citizens of the authoritarian country to apply for citizenship in the U.S. if they could escape. The legislation was amended years later to say that they must reach dry land in the U.S. to stay.
In 1996 President Bill Clinton signed legislation specifying that the embargo on the country could only be lifted when Fidel and his brother Raul were removed from power, and free and fair elections were held.
Free speech must also be honored and dissidents must be released for the embargo to be removed.
In 2006 Fidel temporarily handed over power to his brother Raul due to illness. His retirement became permanent in 2008.
Three years later, during his first term in office, President Obama began lifting restrictions on travel and remittances to the country.
The two countries resumed diplomatic relations at Obama's urging on Dec. 14, 2015.
Prior to that U.S. and Cuban officials met in secret at the Vatican just outside Rome, Italy, to discuss the terms of reengagement.
Critics of the move say the U.S. got almost nothing in return for the deal. Arrests of Castro's political opponents have risen and Cuba has not made the kids of economic reforms the U.S. is seeking.
In return for Cuba's cooperation, 53 political prisoners, including jailed USAID worker Alan Gross, who had been convicted of espionage charges, were released.
The United States likewise returned three captured Cuban intelligence operatives in the prisoner swap who were part of the Cuban Five, a group that was arrested for spying on the U.S. in 2001.
Cuba was later removed from the State Department's terrorist watch list in May of 2015.
The Obama administration believes the decades-old trade and travel ban on Cuba is fueling oppression in the island nation and wants Congress to throw it out.
Tourism to Cuba is banned but the executive branch has unilaterally relaxed many travel rules and Americans can now go there for educational purposes on their own using the honor code as of last week.
Soon commercial flights to Cuba from the United States will also be available, as well.
Congress says it will not lift the full embargo on Cuba until the conditions set during the Clinton administration are met.