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The US Are Finally Friends with Cuba Again

Obama announced yesterday that the US and Cuba are "normalising" relations for the first time in 50 years.
Photo by Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo

After 50 long years of a pretend war, the US and Cuba are finally making up. On Wednesday morning, the White House announced that the US will restore full diplomatic ties with the island nation just 90 miles off the coast of Florida, and open up an embassy there for the first time since Dwight Eisenhower was president.

The surprise deal comes after 18 months of secret negotiations, brokered with the help of Canada and Pope Francis. President Obama and Raul Castro spoke on the phone on Tuesday and finally agreed to put aside their differences. By yesterday morning, relations had already begun to thaw, with Cuba releasing international aid worker Alan Gross – who has been held in prison there for the past five years – on humanitarian grounds. Separately, the US returned three Cuban spies convicted on federal charges in 2001 in exchange for two American intelligence agents who have been imprisoned in Cuba for decades.

"Today, the United States is taking historic steps to chart a new course in our relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people," the White House said in a statement on Wednesday. "We are separated by 90 miles of water, but brought together through the relationships between the two million Cubans and Americans of Cuban descent that live in the United States, and the 11 million Cubans who share similar hopes for a more positive future for Cuba."

You can watch Obama's speech below: