A solemn President Barack Obama responded to the terrorist attacks on Brussels from Havana, Cuba, on Tuesday, March 22.
The commander in chief addressed Cuban president Raul Castro and other attendees inside the Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso in Havana. “President Castro, the people of Cuba, thank you so much for the warm welcome that I have received,” Obama said. “It is an extraordinary honor to be here today. Please indulge me: I want to comment on the terrorist attacks.”
“The thoughts and the prayers of the American people are with the people of Belgium,” Obama continued. “We stand in solidarity with them … We will do whatever necessary to support our ally Belgium.”
Obama noted that in times of strife, love and friendship must be extended. “This is another reminder that the world must unite,” he said. “We must be together regardless of nationality or race or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism. … We can and we will defeat the people who threaten our security.”
He then launched into his previously planned speech, thanking his hosts in Spanish for welcoming him and his wife, Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Sasha and Malia.
“I have come here to extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people,” he said to applause. “I believe in the Cuban people. This is not just a policy of normalizing relations with the Cuban government; the United States is normalizing relations with the Cuban people. … A country’s greatest asset is its people.”
Meanwhile, in Belgium, the death toll continues to rise after multiple explosions hit the Brussels airport and a metro stop. At the moment, that number stands at 31 fatalities and more than 130 injuries.
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