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U.S. And Cuba Will Formally Re-Establish Diplomatic Relations

A White House administration official confirms that the United States and Cuba have come to an agreement to formally re-establish diplomatic relations and open embassies in Havana and Washington.

The Obama administration will announce the agreement on Wednesday.

As NPR's Krishnadev Calamur has explained, the U.S. imposed sanctions and then broke off diplomatic relations with Fidel Castro's communist regime in the early 1960s.

Krishnadev gives us a little more history on the embargo and restrictions:

"The George W. Bush administration had tightened the embargo and increased travel restrictions, but Obama eased those soon after assuming office in 2009. And as CFR notes, 'He went further in 2011 to undo many of the restrictions imposed by the Bush administration, thus allowing U.S. citizens to send remittances to non-family members in Cuba and to travel to Cuba for educational or religious purposes.'

"Cuba, too, is changing, as this story on NPR's Morning Edition by Nick Miroff notes. Raul Castro has introduced modest changes to a country cossetted for decades by a socialist economic model. Obama has acknowledged these changes and called for a renewed approach to the nation.

" 'We have to be creative,' he said last month in Miami. 'And we have to be thoughtful. And we have to continue to update our policies. Keep in mind that when Castro came to power, I was just born.' "

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