From: Weissenstein, Michael
Sent: Friday, October 7, 2016 10:55 AM
To: Justen A. Thomas; Yuliana Nogales; Gleeson, James M. EOP/OVP
Subject: biden pool report 1
Biden left the Hotel Parque Central at Old Havana just after 9 a.m., telling the press covering her departure that "I just want to extend our thoughts and our prayers to the people in the region who are affected by Hurricane Matthew."
Her motorcade drove about 20 minutes to the Universidad de Ciencias Pedagógicas "Enrique José Varona," a government-run teachers' college in the Playa neighborhood of western Havana. She was greeted at the entrance to the campus by the school's director, Dr. Deisy Fraga Cedre. Biden, accompanied by Catherine M. Russell, United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, and Evan Ryan, United States Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, was taken to a meeting room where they sat at a U-shaped table facing Dr. Cedre, two students and six faculty members. The U.S. delegation sat under a portrait of Fidel Castro. Biden's daughter Ashley Biden and niece Missy Owens sat directly behind her. Biden and Cedre introduced each other's delegations. Biden explained that given the ongoing normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, "I thought it was important that we meet the people of the country and not just the government." She said that given her job as a teacher, she gives particular importance to meeting other teachers. She asked if the Cuban students and teachers had any questions for her, and the pool left the room. About a half-hour later she walked in a classroom of about 20 second-year student-teachers of special education, all women. Biden explained that she was a teacher and had been grading exams on her flight to Havana.
"Education is the key to a better future for you and your families," she said.
One of the students was asked to stand and speak to Biden on behalf of the class, at which point the pool left the room and began moving to Biden's next stop.
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Chief of Bureau, Havana/ Director de Noticias, La Habana
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