As the first sitting president to visit Cuba in nearly a century, President Barack Obama marked his arrival in Havana with an announcement about Google.
Obama spoke exclusively with ABC News shortly after his arrival, stating that “the time is right” for his visit. “Our intention has always been to get a ball rolling, knowing that change wasn’t going to happen overnight,” he said. And “although we still have significant differences around human rights, and individual liberties inside of Cuba,” Obama believes that this trip is an opportunity to “maximize” the potential for change.
Obama very pointedly spoke about ending the embargo of Cuba, and while he is uncertain whether that would happen during the tail-end of his presidency, he believes that it’s “inevitable.” That’s when he plugged an announcement about Google’s deal to provide domestic Internet service and Wi-Fi in Cuba.
Until now, only diplomats and employees of foreign companies were permitted private access to the Internet in Cuba. Public access runs $2 per hour, quite a stretch when the average citizen only makes about $20 in an entire month.
President Obama didn’t mention the fact that members of Google donated over $800,000 to his 2012 re-election campaign when announcing the deal.
Again uncertain of the time it might take for the agreement to bring about change, he nevertheless concluded that “change is gonna happen here. And I think that Raul Castro understands that.”
Castro wasn’t there to greet the president at his arrival.
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