US, Cuba To Restore Diplomatic Ties After 50 Years

The United States and Cuba have agreed to resolve and restore diplomatic ties that have been severed for more than 50 years ago.

Barack Obama, President of the United States has called for an end to the long economic embargo against Cuba, its old Cold War enemy.

“Today the US is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba. We’ll begin to normalize relations between our two nations. Through these changes, we intend to create more opportunities for the American and Cuban people and begin a new chapter,” Obama said on Wednesday.

A day earlier, after 18 months of secret talks, Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro agreed in a phone call on a breakthrough prisoner exchange, the opening of embassies in each other’s countries, and an easing of some restrictions on commerce.

Havana released a US citizen, Alan Gross, who had been jailed for five years in Cuba, and an intelligence agent who spied for the US and was held for nearly 20 years.

Cuba’s jailing of Gross, convicted for importing banned technology and trying to establish clandestine internet service for Cuban Jews, had been a major obstacle in improving ties.

The US in return freed three Cuban intelligence agents who had served 16 years in US jails for spying on Cuban exile groups in Florida.

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