President Obama flew into Havana on Sunday on Air Force One. In 1928 the last U.S. president to visit Cuba, Calvin Coolidge, sailed into Havana Harbor aboard a battleship. “Silent Cal” liked a good cigar, but he didn’t drink any rum, watch baseball, or dance the rumba. He addressed the Pan American Conference, promising the hemisphere “peace and goodwill,” but the Platt Amendment was in effect, and Cubans knew American forces could invade their nation at the drop of Mr. Coolidge’s homburg. The president promised Cubans the U.S. would lower the sugar tariff that crippled their economy, but it never happened — and the tariff was later raised.
Today’s Cubans hope this visit turns out better, but they remember the last one, even if we don’t.