OBAMA IN CUBA: A FRONTLINE VIEW

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Inside the Paladar San Cristobal, one of two restaurants where the Obamas ate in Havana

Dateline – Havana, March 21st, 2016

from Alison Vernon-Smith

Barack Obama received a welcome in Havana usually reserved only for Fidel Castro.

He didn’t go walk about as such, and his schedule was kept secret.

But Cubans worked out where he would be and even stood in the rain – something they never do – to catch a glimpse of the black American who is President of the country that has waged war against them for 50 years and has now had the balls to  start a dialogue with Raul Castro.

The Obamas ate at two paladars, local restaurants, rather than opt for a glitzy Embassy do. And that was when the locals got their main glimpses of the man and his retinue, as they walked from cars to restaurant.

San Cristobal and La Guarida will probably have queues round the block from now till the glitter wears off (about 10 years, maybe) from people coming to Havana and wanting to eat where the President ate.

For Alison Vernon-Smith’s full story go here.

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Alison Vernon-Smith usually spends her time sitting in a rather dark and airless office on the Marylebone Rd in London, trying to think of ways to make people funnier on behalf of the BBC Radio Comedy Department. But she’s currently on a middle-aged gap year with her husband. They’re spending six months in Cuba and then....not sure.

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