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The Rolling Stones arrive in Cuba for historic free concert

From left, the Rolling Stones band members Mick

From left, the Rolling Stones band members Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood exit their plane after landing at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, Cuba, on Thursday, March 24, 2016. The Rolling Stones are in Havana to play a free concert for the first time, after the music was once banned by the Cuban government. Credit: Getty Images / Joe Raedle

HAVANA — The Rolling Stones arrived in Cuba’s capital Thursday, on the eve of the rock band’s historic free concert in a country where its music was once silenced.

Mick Jagger offered a brief greeting in Spanish and said he was happy to be on the island.

Friday night’s concert will come three days after President Barack Obama wrapped up a visit to the communist-run island during which he declared an end to the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas.

The band’s private plane flew into Jose Marti airport with the four British rockers and about 60 technical workers and family members. The concert will be at Havana’s Ciudad Deportivo.

“We have performed in many special places during our long career, but this show in Havana will be a milestone for us, and, we hope, for all our friends in Cuba, too,” the band said in a statement released before the arrival.

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In the heat of Cuba’s revolution from the 1960s to the 1980s, foreign bands like The Rolling Stones were considered subversive and blocked from the radio. Cubans listened to their music in secret, passing records from hand to hand.

The band’s Cuba stop follows concerts in Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and Mexico.

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