Obama lands in Jamaica in first US presidential visit since 1982

Kingston (Jamaica) (AFP) – US President Barack Obama landed in Jamaica, becoming the first sitting US president to set foot on the island since 1982.

He waved after emerging from Air Force One and then descended to greet a long line of people including Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, whom he embraced.

Obama then headed to a helicopter along with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.

The first sitting presidential visit since Ronald Reagan was on the island 33 years ago comes as the island nation is navigating a fiscal crisis.

Obama is scheduled to meet the CARICOM regional block of Caribbean nations and possibly offer them an alternative to cheap Venezuelan oil amid a spat with Caracas. He is also slated to meet with Simpson-Miller.

Late Thursday Obama heads to Panama, where he may have a landmark meeting with Cuba’s communist President Raul Castro during a meeting of regional nations.

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