(P1) The WHITE HOUSE confirmed that President Barack Obama will visit Cuba in March, making a historic trip in the final year of his presidency that will mark a TURNING POINT in U.S. relations with a LONG-TIME enemy.

(P2) Obama’s Latin American trip will also include a visit to Argentina.

(P3) The visit to Havana is a sign of NORMALIZED RELATIONS with Cuba, which the Obama administration has been working on.

(P4) Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro shocked the world in December 2014 by announcing the former enemies would move to normalize relations.

(P5) The Republican majority in Congress has fought these changes, so Obama has used his executive authority to relax trade and travel restrictions.

(P6) Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, both sons of Cuban immigrants, have been sharply critical of these changes in U.S. policy towards Cuba. They both feel that there has been no real political change in Cuba.

(P7) It was not immediately clear what detailed ARRANGEMENTS would be made for the trip.

(P8) Washington and Havana restored diplomatic ties in July but commerce remains limited by the existing U.S. TRADE EMBARGO, which includes a ban on most American tourism to the island. However, it has become much easier for American citizens to visit Cuba under certain exceptions to the ban.

(P9) American and Cuban officials have now signed an AGREEMENT to restore scheduled air services between the two countries after half a century.

(P10) Florida Senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio criticized the reported plans for the trip. Asked at an event in South Carolina whether he would visit Cuba, Rubio replied: “Not if it’s not a free Cuba.”

(P11) Rubio’s family is part of the strongly anti-Castro population of Cuban-American EXILES.

(P12) Ted Cruz also criticized Obama’s move, saying he would not go to Cuba “as long as the Castros are in power.”

(P13) The only U.S. president ever to visit Cuba was Calvin Coolidge in 1928.

WORDS: 320

SOURCE: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/18/obama-to-make-historic-trip-to-cuba-in-coming-weeks-official-says.html


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Should countries that are enemies still talk to one another?
  3. What nations does your country’s government consider to be enemies?
  4. What is the general opinion of Barack Obama in your country?
  5. Why is Cuba such a CONTROVERSIAL country?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • White House
  • Turning point
  • Long-time
  • Normalized relations
  • Trade embargo

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