US-Cuban relations normalized after 54 years

Barack Obama announced the normalization of US relations with Cuba and the opening of a US embassy in Havana Wednesday, with Raul Castro making the parallel announcement in Cuba. Thus ends the 54-year American embargo on Cuba and the last remnant of the Cold War.

The White House made the announcement after Cuba released the Jewish American Alan Gross, 65, who was arrested while working to expand Internet access for Havana’s Jewish community and sentenced in 2009 to 15 years in prison.
Following high-level talks since the spring, the US and Cuba made a parallel prisoner exchange of three Cuban intelligence agents for a US intelligence asset who has been imprisoned for more than 20 years.

Cuba also agreed to release 53 people the U.S. considers political prisoners, some of whom have already been released, the officials said.

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