12/17/14

Permalink US and Cuba to normalise diplomatic relations and end decades of hostility

The United States and Cuba have ended decades of cold war hostility by agreeing to normalise diplomatic and travel relations after 18 months of secret talks on prisoner releases brokered by the Vatican. The surprise breakthrough came after a 45-minute phone call between Barack Obama and Raúl Castro on Tuesday finalised the release of Alan Gross, a US government aid contractor held for five years in Cuba, which accused him of being a spy. But as he was dramatically flown back to the US on Wednesday accompanied by three congressmen, it became clear that a far larger deal had been agreed between the two countries, not just to release other prisoners and spies, but to restore ties between the countries that have been frozen since 1967.

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