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http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Raul-Castro-Cuba-and-US-to-Re-Establish-Diplomatic-Relations-20141217-0024.html

From Cuba Solidarity Campaign

On his special address, the Cuban head of state Raul Castro said relations between both governments will be relaunched.

Cuban president Raul Castro gave a speech on Wednesday and said relations between both governments will be reset.

“We have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations, but this does not mean that the main issue has been resolved, the blockade that generates economic losses and humanitarian problems to our country must stop,” he said.

Negotiations between Cuba and the United States began 18 months ago, with the encouragement of Pope Francis. The secret talks were hosted in Canada, and a final meeting took place in the Vatican.

After the negotiations, both U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro spoke over the phone and agreed to restart relations between both countries.

Earlier on Wednesday, Cuba released US spy Alan Gross and the United States freed the Cuban 5 antiterrorist, held in US prisons since 1998.

Cuba arrested Gross, now 65, on Dec. 3, 2009, and later convicted the USAID subcontractor to 15 years in prison for trying to establish clandestine internet service. Gross was subcontracted by private firm Development Alternatives, Inc., which was subcontracted by USAID to provide “humanitarian assistance.”

USAID has long tried to infiltrate Cuba via varios programs in order to affect soft change on the island. The United States has spent US$264 million over the last 18 years, in succesive efforts to oust the Cuban government.

The U.S. more overt economic blockade on Cuba, harshly criticized by the international community for many years, has been in situ since the early days of the Cold War, when U.S. anti-communist hysteria was at its peak.

There has been growing pressure from within the United States to end the blockade, and recent rumors have suggested that Obama may change policy if Cuba were to make “democratic and economic reforms.”

Ahead of the speech, both Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democrat Senator Richard Durbin both announced, through separate statements, that both countries could normalize trade relations.

There has been growing pressure from within the United States to end the blockade, and recent rumors have suggested that Obama may change policy if Cuba were to make “democratic and economic reforms.”

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