President Obama made history Sunday afternoon when he became the first American president to visit Cuba in almost nine decades.
POTUS’s visit has been rumored since the president announced he was beginning to normalize relations with the Caribbean nation last December.
Much preparation has gone into the president's trip to Cuba, but a visit of such historical significance would require an extra touch in the form of a little comic relief.
Pánfilo, a beloved Cuban comedic character played by Luis Silva, appeared in a comedic sketch with President Obama ahead of his arrival in Cuba.
In the sketch, Pánfilo believes he is calling the Cuban weather service located in the “White House.” Much to the Cuban comic’s surprise, he called the actual White House in Washington, D.C., with President Obama himself answering the phone.
The Cuban star excitedly spoke with the president about his upcoming trip to Cuba. Pánfilo spoke mainly Spanish and President Obama mainly English, but the Commander-in-Chief got a few Spanish words in, even using some Cuban slang.
The sketch was light-hearted and funny, with Pánfilo offering his own bedroom to the president and the first lady. Though a comical affair, this was a major step in the normalizing of American-Cuban relations.
Pánfilo is the star of Cubavision’s Vivir del Cuento — or as it's roughly translated in English Surviving by Your Wits.
The show is a rarity for Cuba, due to the fact that the comedy pokes fun at the substandard living conditions most Cubans face because of the country's communist policies. The comedy is nowhere close to the biting political commentary Americans are accustomed to watching on SNL, but as far as Cuban television goes, it’s a big step towards political and social progress.
Despite the American-Cuban comedic partnership, the two nations are still very far apart on many fundamental issues, such as human rights, economic policy and the US military base at Guantanamo Bay.
Only time will tell if the United States and Cuba will go from being joke buddies to national allies.
(Photo: US Embassy of Cuba via Youtube)