President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have arrived in Cuba for a historic visit to the island and talks with President Raul Castro.
Barack Obama is the first sitting US president to visit Cuba since the 1959 revolution, which heralded decades of hostility.
“Looking forward to meeting and hearing directly from the Cuban people,” he tweeted on arrival.
President Barack Obama will meet Cuban President Raul Castro, but not retired revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, and the pair will discuss trade and political reform.
Barack Obama emerged smiling from Air Force One with First Lady Michelle and their daughters Sasha and Malia.
Holding umbrellas, the party walked in light drizzle along a red carpet to be greeted by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.
Barack Obama’s visit is the highpoint of a recent easing of ties, which included the opening of embassies last year.
Only hours before his arrival, protesters calling for the release of political prisoners were arrested in the capital, Havana.
Police took away dozens of demonstrators from the Ladies in White group, formed of political prisoners’ wives, from outside a church where they attempt to hold weekly protests.
Correspondents say the visit – the first by a sitting US president for 88 years – marks a huge turnaround in US-Cuban relations.
Barack Obama’s visit represents the opening of a new chapter in the affairs of the two nations.
Raul Castro and Barack Obama will sit together at a state dinner, there will be a joint news conference and they will discuss trade.
The White House has made it clear President Barack Obama will meet political dissidents, whether the Cuban authorities like it or not. That is expected to include members of the Ladies in White group.
However, this visit does not mark a complete normalization in US- Cuban relations.
The 54-year-old US economic embargo of Cuba is still in place and can only be lifted by a vote in Congress. Meanwhile, Cuba still complains about the occupation of the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay.