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Us, Cuba Agree To Normalize Relations

Psychic Gibbon

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WASHINGTON — The United States and Cuba have agreed to establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking the most significant shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island in decades, American officials said Wednesday.

The announcement comes amid a series of new confidence-building measures between the longtime foes, including the release of American Alan Gross, as well as a swap for a U.S. intelligence asset held in Cuba and the freeing of three Cubans jailed in the U.S.

President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro were to separately address their nations around noon Wednesday. The two leaders spoke by phone for more than 45 minutes Tuesday, the first substantive presidential-level discussion between the U.S. and Cuba since 1961.

Wednesday’s announcements follow more than a year of secret talks between U.S. and Cuban officials in Canada and the Vatican. U.S. officials said Pope Francis was personally engaged in the process and sent separate letters to Obama and Castro this summer urging them to restart relations.

Officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly on the record ahead of Obama’s remarks.

Gross, 65, was on an American plane bound for the U.S. Wednesday after being released on humanitarian grounds after more than five years in prison. He was accompanied by his wife, Judy, along with three congressional lawmakers.

As part of the resuming diplomatic relations with Cuba, the U.S. will soon reopen an embassy in the capital of Havana and carry out high-level exchanges and visits between the governments. The U.S. is also easing travel bans to Cuba, including for family visits, official U.S. government business, and educational activities, through tourist travel remains banned.

The U.S. is also increasing the amount of money Americans can send to Cubans from $500 to $2,000 per quarter, or every three months. Early in his presidency, Obama allowed unlimited family visits by Cuban-Americans and removed a $1,200 annual cap on remittances. Secretary of State John Kerry is also launching a review of Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terror.


About **** time.

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This could have happened some time ago, and while there is no longer a USSR, the timing that this happens as Russia and the US are treading upon a modern day cold war is remarkably coincidental.

I was thinking the exact same thing. Relaxing that monetary restriction means a lot now that Russia does not have that much money itself.

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There are always people who are going to love it and others who will hate it. Personally after 50 years it's time to move on. We did with Japan and Germany and they are now our allies and business partners. It's heading that way with Vietnam as well. Bring on the rum and cigars!

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Great news! They need to go even further and open it up fully! Cuba is a gold mine for development, and only 90 miles away!

First thing that came to mind when I heard the news this morning.

I got a chance to go to Cuba a couple years ago for a vacation. If the day ever comes I would recommend it to anyone.

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Cuba is overloaded with classic american cars, mostly in the 1950's.

Cruise Lines have been waiting for this opportunity.

Casinos will start popping up.

Good cigars on the way here.

Win win situation all around.

Wasn't this what pissed off Castro in the 50's? American back businesses/mafia/ect had Cuba as their personal playground at the expense of the poor, thus leading to the revolution?

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Fidel Castro took over the country from Batista because of Batistas close ties with the mafia. But Fidel turned Cuba into a communist country causing many Cubans to flee to Florida mainly, to start a life free of communism. Now that Raul took over from his brother, he seems to recognize the faults of communism and might be doing a complete turn around in philosophy.

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