HUFFINGTON POST
03/19/2016 09:39 am ET

Cubans Display American Flags Ahead Of Obama's Historic Visit

It was rare to see an American flag in Cuba before the 2014 thaw in relations, but that appears to be changing.
Alejandro Ernesto/EPA/Corbis

President Barack Obama will travel to Cuba on Sunday for a historic three-day trip, the latest milestone in his efforts to repair Cuban-American relations after decades of hostility. 

There was great anticipation in some quarters of Havana ahead of his arrival, as he will be the first U.S. president to visit the country in almost 90 years

"What I've seen so far is that all Cubans are excited about Barack Obama's visit to Cuba," one Cuban man told CNN last week. A poll from last year suggests that Obama is well-liked in in the country -- 80 percent reported a "very positive" or "somewhat positive" opinion of the U.S. president.

Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro made history in late 2014, when they announced they would restore ties that had been broken since the Cold War. Obama's trip "signals a new beginning between our two countries and peoples," Jeffrey DeLaurentis, charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, said Wednesday.

Washington lifted some trade and travel restrictions for Americans in Cuba on Tuesday, as part of the Obama administration's work to remove some of the long-standing economic sanctions against Cuba's communist government. A trade embargo remains in place, however, as the Obama administration would need Congress' approval to eliminate it.

It was rare to see American flags in Cuba before the thaw in relations, but that appears to be changingThe American flag was raised at the U.S. embassy in Cuba last year for the first time in decades. Now, the symbol can be spotted around the streets of Havana, whether as a fashion accessory, political statement or defiant expression of counter-culture.

Take a look at these photos of the U.S. flag appearing in Cuba in the month before Obama's visit. 

  • In the Havana home of actor Armando Ricart, a former boxer and carpenter, an image of revolutionary hero Ernes
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In the Havana home of actor Armando Ricart, a former boxer and carpenter, an image of revolutionary hero Ernesto "Che" Guevara hangs on a wall across the doorway from an American flag.
  • Ailene, 29, poses for a picture in Havana on Feb. 28, 2016.
    Enrique de la Osa / Reuters
    Ailene, 29, poses for a picture in Havana on Feb. 28, 2016.
  • An artisan who goes by the nickname Buby displays several refrigerator magnets of the U.S. president and first lady for
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    An artisan who goes by the nickname Buby displays several refrigerator magnets of the U.S. president and first lady for sale at a souvenir shop in Havana.
  • A car with stickers of Cuban and U.S. flags is seen on a street in Havana.
    Ernesto Mastrascusa/EPA/Corbis
    A car with stickers of Cuban and U.S. flags is seen on a street in Havana.
  • A woman wearing a headscarf in the colors of the U.S. flag walks near Havana's Capitol on March 15.
    YAMIL LAGE via Getty Images
    A woman wearing a headscarf in the colors of the U.S. flag walks near Havana's Capitol on March 15.
  • Student Christian Leiva, 18, watches a performance by American electronic music group Major Lazer in Havana on Marc
    Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters
    Student Christian Leiva, 18, watches a performance by American electronic music group Major Lazer in Havana on March 6.
  • A woman wearing a tank top with a Stars and Stripes motif, talks by phone at a coffee shop in Havana.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A woman wearing a tank top with a Stars and Stripes motif, talks by phone at a coffee shop in Havana.
  • A woman holds a U.S. flag during the Major Lazer performance earlier this month. 
    Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters
    A woman holds a U.S. flag during the Major Lazer performance earlier this month. 
  • A man holds a mobile phone decorated with the U.S. flag while watching Major Lazer perform.
    Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters
    A man holds a mobile phone decorated with the U.S. flag while watching Major Lazer perform.
  • A Cuban flag and a sticker of a U.S. flag are seen on the roof of tricycle taxi in Havana.
    Enrique de la Osa / Reuters
    A Cuban flag and a sticker of a U.S. flag are seen on the roof of tricycle taxi in Havana.
  • A woman in Havana wears pants with the colors of the U.S. flag. 
    Enrique de la Osa / Reuters
    A woman in Havana wears pants with the colors of the U.S. flag. 
  • A man in Havana wears a shirt with the U.S. flag.
    Enrique de la Osa/Reuters
    A man in Havana wears a shirt with the U.S. flag.
  • A woman wears pants with the colors of the U.S. flag while walking in Havana. 
    Enrique de la Osa / Reuters
    A woman wears pants with the colors of the U.S. flag while walking in Havana. 
  • Yosuan, 26, wearing a shirt with the U.S flag, stands on a street in Havana on Feb. 22.
    Enrique de la Osa / Reuters
    Yosuan, 26, wearing a shirt with the U.S flag, stands on a street in Havana on Feb. 22.
  • A pedicab adorned with a U.S. flag is seen on a Havana.
    YAMIL LAGE via Getty Images
    A pedicab adorned with a U.S. flag is seen on a Havana.
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