HAVANA, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Two comedy videos have recently gone viral in Cuba after U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Havana, which has promoted Cuba-U.S. relations.
With over one million hits on YouTube, the two comedy sketches between Obama and the island's most popular character "Panfilo" have been a popular topic on the island over the past few days.
"Panfilo," a character played by 37-year-old computer scientist Luis Silva, represents an ordinary Cuban who has survived the ration card for food and fight against daily difficulties on an island which has been under a U.S. embargo since 1962.
In the first video "Panfilo" calls Obama at the White House to greet him days before he arrives in Havana. The second one shows the Cuban comedy character playing dominoes with the U.S. President and other friends.
"It was the White House's idea because they wanted Obama to participate in a popular comedy show in Cuba and we once joked about 'Panfilo' talking to the U.S. president," said Silva in an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Saturday.
Fifteen days before Obama's arrival in Cuba, Silva received a phone call from the U.S. embassy in Havana proposing the idea to him, he said.
After a few rounds of conversations, the White House chose the dominoes game because "it's something very Cuban," said Silva.
The White House came up with the idea of an encounter between Obama and "Panfilo" in Havana, which took place on Monday after Obama met with Cuban entrepreneurs.
"When Obama arrived he was very eager to start recording, he greeted us and asked if we were ready. We started shooting and the scene was done in just one take. It was incredible," said Silva.
The sketch involved a game of dominoes between "Panfilo" and his friends, full of symbolism and references to the half-century thaw between Cuba and the United States.
Obama made several comments in Spanish, took off his coat to sit and played dominoes and then thanked the Cuban people for the hospitality he received during his three-day visit to Havana.
"The message we wanted to convey is that relations between the two countries would not be stuck in a deadlock again like the dominoes game. From now on there has to be friendship, respect and dialogue between the two governments and we believe in a better future," said Silva.
The comedian said the White House, which spent time investigating popular programs on the Caribbean island, chose his character and TV show for a reason: "Panfilo" was the most popular comedy program broadcasted on the Cuban state television.
Silva, who has played the character for the past seven years, said he was proud to have participated in this comedy sketch.
The Cuban television would broadcast the entire episode next Monday.
On this occasion, comedy, a universal artistic genre, served as a bridge uniting Cuba and the United States after more than 50 years of animosity.