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Obama watches baseball match in Cuba

Wednesday, March 23 2016 by SNTV
  • US president Barack Obama and Cuban counterpart Raul Castro sat next to each other for the eagerly-awaited baseball match between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team in Havana

    The Tampa Bay Rays met the Cuban national team in Havana on Tuesday with US president Barack Obama in attendance.

    On the last day of the first visit to Cuba by a US president for 88 years, Obama said earlier on Tuesday that he had come to "bury the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas".

    He then met with dissidents and local leaders at the new US embassy before heading for the hottest ticket in town.

    Thousands crammed into the Latinoamericano Stadium to see the Cuban national team face Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays.

    The crowd roared as Obama, followed by his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro, entered the stands.

    The stadium observed a minute's silence to commemorate those killed in terror attacks in Belgium earlier on Tuesday.

    There were cheers for the Rays players as they were introduced including their Cuban-born outfielder Dayron Varona.

    Managers and players all walked out holding hands with young Cuban children.

    But the cheers were louder for Cuba led out by manager Victor Mesa with catcher Frank Morejon receiving a rapturous welcome.

    Both national anthems were sung by a choir in quick succession, Cuba's first, before the players carried children on their hips - with one Cuban girl planting a kiss on a Rays player's cheek - and a flock of doves released from centre field.

    And then it was time to play baseball.

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