President Barack Obama is expected to visit Cuba next month, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to make a state visit to the island in nearly nine decades.
The White House is planning to make the announcement as early as Thursday, U.S. officials told the Associated Press. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the trip hasn’t been officially announced.
Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced in late 2014 that they would begin normalizing ties. The Obama administration is eager to make rapid progress on building trade and diplomatic ties with Cuba before Obama leaves office. The two nations signed a deal Tuesday restoring commercial air traffic for the first time in five decades.
ABC News first reported Wednesday that the White House planned to announce the trip Thursday.
President Calvin Coolidge went to Havana in January 1928 to give a speech to the 6th International Conference of American States, according to the State Department historian’s office, which records the foreign travel of presidents and secretaries of state.
President Harry Truman visited Guantanamo Bay, which is controlled by the United States, so that was not considered a state visit; he didn’t meet with any Cuban government officials, according to his presidential library.