Begin forwarded message:
From: "Parsons, Christi" >
Date: March 21, 2016 at 11:12:40 AM GMT-4
To: Peter Velz >, Desiree Barnes >
Subject: POTUS print pool -- wreath laying
At 10:15 am, the motorcade left the POTUS overnight for the fifteen-minute drive to the Jose Marti memorial. Hundreds of people lined the street on many stretches of the route, waving and taking pictures of the motorcade. The only noticeable sign was an enormous banner of Huge Chavez hanging on one lovely estate; it might have been the Venezuelan embassy, as we were in the diplomatic neighborhood.
At 10:30 am, POTUS participated in a wreath laying ceremony at and tour of the memorial.
Walking with the president was his tour guide, Eva Diaz Torres. Aide Diaz Ortega, at age 96 the director of the museum, welcomed the president to the podium -- standing next to the podium with only the aid of a wheeled walker to balance.
Obama signed the guest book as Ms. Ortega watched him pen a longish note (contents to come), taking his hand afterward to thank home for coming -- "muy amable" of him, she said -- and to tell him about Jose Marti. Pool pulled out before she was done.
A few minutes later, in a long hallway of the palace, POTUS and Castro stood before a line of military personnel in dress uniforms presenting arms. They listened as the national anthems were played. The American participants in the bilateral program stood nearby for the ceremony, including NSA Susan Rice and Secs. Kerry, Vilsack and Pritzker. Castro shook hands with all of them.
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