Barack Obama apologized to Cuban president Raul Castro during their phone conversation after the American commander in chief’s opening remarks. Speaking to reporters at his final White House press briefing of 2014 Friday afternoon, Obama gave more details about his phone call with the communist leader of Cuba earlier this week before the announcement of a change in U.S. policy on the Caribbean island nation.
Obama began the phone call with Castro with what he described as 15 minutes of opening comments. It was the first conversation between the heads of state in both countries since 1961.
“I apologized for taking such a long time,” Obama said. Castro responded by reminding Obama that the American president was still young enough to beat Castro’s brother, former Cuban president and revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who once gave a 7-hour-long speech.
According to the president, Raul Castro proceeded to speak to Obama uninterrupted for 30 minutes.