HAVANA – Jill Biden, wife of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, noted on Friday at the start of an official three-day visit to Cuba the importance of making contact with the Cuban people and not just with the government on the island.
Biden, who began her official agenda in Havana with a visit to the Enrique Jose Varona University of Pedagogical Sciences, said that meeting with the people and not just the government is important considering that this is a time when relations between the two countries are being normalized.
The U.S. vice president’s wife, a teacher by profession, has scheduled for Friday a tour of the historic center of Havana, attending cultural events, lunch with Cuban ladies and watching a friendly soccer match between her country and Cuba, the first since 1947.
The U.S. representative began her activities early Friday morning with a thought for countries in the region, including the U.S. and Cuba, that were hit by the devastating Hurricane Matthew.
She was greeted at the University of Pedagogical Sciences by the director, Deisy Fraga, and had a meeting with teachers and students, where she said that as a teacher herself she gives particular importance of getting to know and sharing experiences with others in her profession.
She also visited one of the classrooms, where before 20 special education students – all women – she again spoke of her profession and how on the plane to Cuba she had been correcting exams.
Education is the key to a better future for you and your families, Jill Biden told them.
After this visit, she was scheduled to tour Old Havana, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982, and to attend a concert of the women’s Camerata Romeu chamber orchestra at the Basilica and Monastery of St. Francis of Assisi.
Biden is accompanied by the U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues, Catherine Russell, and U.S. assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs, Evan Ryan.
Also making the trip is her daughter Ashley Biden and her niece, Missy Owens.
This trip by Jill Biden, who will be in Cuba until Sunday and will then travel to the Dominican Republic, was announced by the White House last Sept. 27 as a mission to address cultural, educational, health and women’s matters with authorities of the two countries.
Biden made another trip to Latin America by herself last June that included visits to Costa Rica, Peru, Argentina and Panama.