Sources: Obama to Visit Cuba Next Month, Rubio Slams President’s Decision

Barack Obama
President Barack Obama smiles as he arrives to speak to mayors from around the country, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. They visited the White House as part of the Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington this week. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Washington (CNN)- President Barack Obama will visit Cuba next month, multiple U.S. and diplomatic sources told CNN on Wednesday. The trip, long expected, comes after the Obama administration formally reopened ties with Havana in late 2014, ending a half-century of enmity. Since then, travel restrictions have been loosened and economic channels reopened. Obama shook Cuban leader Raul Castro’s hand during an historic face-to-face meeting last spring. The formal announcement could come as soon as Thursday.

The visit was first reported by ABC News.

Marco Rubio slammed President Barack Obama’s plan to visit Cuba and defended calling Ted Cruz a liar at CNN’s GOP town hall in South Carolina. The Florida senator said that if he were president, he would not visit the island nation — unless it were a “free Cuba.” The Cuban government is “an anti-American communist dictatorship,” said the Cuban-American senator, who has been an outspoken critic of Obama’s Cuba policy. “They’re a repressive regime.”

Rubio also doubled down on his recent accusation that Cruz is “lying,” saying there is simply “no other word” for his rival’s behavior. Rubio insisted, however, that his escalating feud with Cruz was “not the core of my campaign.” Cruz, a Texas senator, will appear separately at the town hall later in the evening, but he has previously rejected the accusation of lies leveled by Rubio and other opponents.

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