President Obama Discusses With Cuba To Reestablish Diplomatic Relations
|President Obama Discusses With Cuba To Reestablish Diplomatic Relations|
A political standoff that spanned five decades and 10 presidents began to crumble Wednesday with President Barack Obama's move to normalize relations with Cuba.
The surprise announcement represented a dramatic turning point in more than five decades of hostility born in the depths of the Cold War and yet frozen in time long after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Once a geopolitical flash point in a global struggle of ideology and power, Cuba obsessed American leaders of a different era, who sponsored covert schemes like the failed Bay of Pigs operation in 1961 aimed at toppling Fidel Castro, the charismatic revolutionary leader.
In more recent years, the Cuban-American relationship faded in significance yet remained a thorn in the side of multiple presidents who waited for Mr. Castro’s demise and experienced false hope when he passed power to his brother, Raúl. Even today, Cuba remains a powerful touchstone in American politics, and critics characterized Mr. Obama’s diplomatic thaw as appeasement of the hemisphere’s leading dictatorship.
|Judy Gross(Alan Gross Wife)|
American officials said the Cuban spies were swapped for a United States intelligence agent who had been in a Cuban prison for nearly 20 years, and said Mr. Gross was not technically part of the swap, but was released separately on “humanitarian grounds.”
In addition, the United States will ease restrictions on remittances, travel and banking relations, and Cuba will release 53 Cuban prisoners identified as political prisoners by the United States government.
Although the decades-old American embargo on Cuba will remain in place for now, the president called for an “honest and serious debate about lifting” it, which would require an act of Congress.