Lithuanian-descent US Senator Dick Durbin is accompanying President Barack Obama and his family on their historic visit to Cuba.
US Senator Richard Durbin
© AP/Scanpix

Durbin, whose mother was a Lithuanian who immigrated to the United States, has worked to improves US-Cuba relations for years and flew to the country on Air Force One with President Obama and his family.

Durbin has been integrally involved in developing better relations with Cuba, travelling there a number of times over the past few years, including to secure the release of an American contractor, Alan Gross who had been imprisoned there for five years. Durbin was also on the first US congressional delegation to officially visit Cuba in January 2015.

Obama became the first US president to set foot on Cuban soil for 88 years shortly after he touched down at Jose Marti International Airport on Sunday.

He is to meet Cuban President Raul Castro later on Monday in the first meeting between the two governments in more than half a century.

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