The U.S. and Cuba are reestablishing diplomatic ties for the first time in five decades.  Embassies will be reopened in Washington, DC and Havana this summer.  President Obama told a White House gathering that it is an historic step forward which ends a Cold War-era policy that was not working.  He said Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Havana to raise the American flag over the U.S. embassy.    

The President announced a thawing of relations with Cuba late last year after more than 50-years of isolating the communist island nation.  He said isolation has not produced positive change in Cuba and argued that it is time to try something new.  An economic embargo of Cuba remains in effect.  It would take congressional action to end the embargo.  Obama urged lawmakers to lift the embargo but that is an unlikely scenario in the Republican-controlled House and Senate.

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