Obama delivers speech to Cuban people

Speaking to the Cuban people in a speech broadcast throughout the country, President Barack Obama said Tuesday he came to Cuba to "bury the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas."

Obama noted that his lifetime has spanned the time of isolation between the two countries and the decades of constant confrontation. But he says the two countries share the same values and someday the decades of hostilities will be viewed as just "one chapter in a longer story of family and of friendship."

Obama spoke from the Grand Theater of Havana, with Cuban President Raul Castro and his presumed successor, Cuba's First Vice President Miguel Diaz Canel, looking on.

Obama stressed the difference between the countries, noting Castro has discussed them at length during his visit. But Obama says Cuba and the U.S. share similar colonial roots and he says the two countries are like two brothers who've been estranged for many years even though they share the same blood.

The streets around Havana's National Theater were almost completely empty of ordinary Cubans shortly before U.S. President Barack Obama is to deliver the main speech of his history-making visit to Cuba.

Hundreds of plainclothes policemen and women fill the streets for blocks around. People invited by the Cuban government, including doctors in white coats, are filing from buses into the theater.

Two enormous framed flags -- one Cuban and one American -- hanged on the stage behind where the president spoke. along with the smaller flags on poles behind him.

With the Associated Press

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