President Obama writes letter to Cuban pensioner. White House website

A personal letter from President Obama to a 76-year-old Cuban letter writer was delivered via the first direct U.S. mail service to Cuba in more than 50 years this week.

According to the White House, the presidential missive was among a batch of mail that went out on a flight to Cuba on Wednesday. The letters also include Obama’s reply to Cuban pensioner, Ileana Yarza, who wrote to the president in February.

“I have invited you to a cup of Cuban coffee at my place in Vedado, if and when you would finally come,” Yarza wrote in a letter posted on the White House blog.

“I think there are not many Cubans so eager as I to meet you in person not as an important American personality but as a charming president whose open smile wins hearts.”

The president replied in a letter that was also posted on the blog.

“I hope this note – which will reach you by way of the first direct mail flight between the United States and Cuba in over 50 years – serves as a reminder of a bright new chapter in the relationship between our two nations,” Obama wrote in the letter.

Obama arrived Sunday in Cuba on a historic visit to the island nation as the first sitting US President to touch Cuban soil in almost 90 years. The significance of this trip cannot be overstated and many Cubans and Americans have welcomed the move as a gesture of goodwill.

Before travelling to Cuba, Obama had these words to say, “I am looking forward to visiting Havana to foster this relationship and highlight our shared values -- and, hopefully, I will have time to enjoy a cup of Cuban coffee.” He added.