US breaks free from past as it restores ties with Cuba

“We will not hesitate to speak out when we see actions that contradict those values”.

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Cuba’s foreign ministry says the chief of the USA interests section in Havana, Jeffrey DeLaurentis, will deliver a note Wednesday from Obama on reopening embassies. “The President today lived up to the promise he made in December to start opening doors to Cuba“, said Sides. I also want to thank the Government of Switzerland for the essential role that they have played in serving as the United States protecting power in Cuba for more than 50 years. “Americans and Cubans alike are ready to move forward”.

The US cut off diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961 after Fidel Castro’s revolution.

The embassy closure foreshadowed conflagrations across the Straits of Florida that would define an era: from the failed Bay of Pigs invasion to the crisis over Russian missile sites in Cuba.

“Cuba is encouraged by the reciprocal intention to develop respectful and cooperative relations between our two peoples and governments”, Castro wrote in a letter to Obama.

Obama and Castro seek to relegate to history 56 years of recriminations that have predominated ever since Fidel Castro’s rebels overthrew the US-backed government of Fulgencio Batista on Jan 1, 1959.

“Cuba has a cancer, and (embassies) are like giving an aspirin to a patient with a cancer”, she said. The delegation will include “prominent representatives of Cuban society”, AP reported.

As word spread that the United States will soon turn its interests section into a full-fledged embassy in Havana, Cubans standing outside the mission Wednesday voiced hope for a better future.

But opponents could yet pose problems for further rapprochement.

Republicans who oppose the thaw with Cuba have vowed to block funding for an embassy and the confirmation of a new ambassador. That will take time, hard work and compromise.

Senior Democrat senator Robert Menendez also criticised the president.

“Political police came to me at the airport and said ok, goodbye”.

But Republican speaker John Boehner was fierce in his criticism of the announcement that the White House “is handing the Castros a lifetime dream of legitimacy without getting a thing for the Cuban people being oppressed by this brutal communist dictatorship”.

Obama urged lawmakers to lift embargoes that prohibit Americans from traveling to or doing business in Cuba.

American jazz musician Douglas Little, who happened to be in Havana with his band Charanga Tropical during Wednesday’s announcement, noted that the United States has diplomatic relations with Vietnam even though it went to war with that country. According to NCGA, “The United States has sold corn to Cuba each marketing year since the early 2000s and distiller’s dried grains with solubles since 2005″.

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Obama has relaxed several of the prohibitions on trade and travel that existed between the two countries, but many remain in place and can only be removed by legislation.

President Barack Obama accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on Wednesday. The president announced that the United States and Cuba have agreed to open embassies in each other's capitals