U.S. President Barack Obama delivered an impassioned appeal for political liberties in Cuba, including freedom of expression and religion, as he spoke directly to the Cuban people in a historic speech broadcast throughout the Communist-ruled island.
Speaking at Havana's Grand Theater with Cuban President Raul Castro in attendance in what White House officials touted as a crowning moment of Obama's visit, Obama extended a "hand of friendship." He declared that he had come to Havana to "bury the last remnant" of the Cold War in the Americas.
But he also pressed for economic and political reforms, speaking in a one-party state where little dissent is tolerated.
"Voters should be able to choose their governments in free and fair elections," he said, describing this as consistent with what the United States wants for countries around the world.