Obama plays dominoes, jokes about The Beast in Cuban TV skit

HAVANA (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama finally got a chance to meet Pánfilo, the Cuban television character, when he appeared in a skit shot in Havana for a popular comedy show that sometimes pokes fun at the Cuban government.

U.S. President Barack Obama smiles during a conference at Buenos Aires' Town Hall, March 23, 2016. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

The U.S. embassy in Cuba released the video on Wednesday, a day after Obama concluded his 48-hour visit. (here)

Before coming to Cuba, Obama made another video in which he joked on the telephone with Pánfilo, a bumbling old man played by actor Luis Silva in the show Vivir del Cuento.

He mixes in a little Spanish in both skits, each time using the very Cuban slang “¿Qué bolá?” (What’s up?)

In a country where the Communist government tightly controls the media, Pánfilo is allowed to satirize the difficulties of daily life.

While the previous video was shot separately in Washington and Havana, this time Obama went to the set of Vivir del Cuento, pretending to stop by Pánfilo’s home to learn how to play dominoes.

Obama praises Cuban food and music and remarks how welcoming Cubans were to him and his family.

He also jokes about his armored limousine nicknamed The Beast, which proved to be a source of fascination for Cubans.

One of the Cuban characters is worried whether the car would be safe at a baseball game the president attended in Havana.

“I just hope that no foul balls hit The Beast,” Obama said.

After Obama leaves, Pánfilo laments, “Oh my God, I forgot to show him my ration card.”

Many Cubans depend on their monthly ration card for food to supplement the average state salary of $25 per month.

Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Andrew Hay