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A Stunning Shift In U.S.-Cuban Relations47:09
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With guest host Michel Martin.

Following months of secret talks the US will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than fifty years.

This handout photo from the Twitter account of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. shows Alan Gross arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. The US and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War, American officials said Wednesday. (AP)
This handout photo from the Twitter account of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. shows Alan Gross arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. The US and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War, American officials said Wednesday. (AP)

After more than a half a century of mutual hostility, President Obama opened the door to Cuba. The two countries, just 90 miles apart, once had the world on the edge of nuclear war.  Now, after secret meetings, an assist from Pope Francis, and a prisoner swap, they’re talking about re-opening embassies, easing travel and trade restrictions. While tough issues remain, church bells rang in Havana, but some US hard-liners condemned the deal. This hour, On Point:  A new era for the US and Cuba.
-- Michel Martin

Guests

Alan Gomez, immigration and Latin American reporter for USA Today. (@alangomez)

Elaine Diaz Rodriguez, 2015 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. Journalist and professor at the University of Havana. (@elainediaz2003)

Ted Henken, incoming chair of Baruch College's department of sociology and anthropology department. Author of "Entrepreneurial Cuba: The Changing Policy Landscape." (@elyuma)

Jaime Suchlicki, professor of history and director of the Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies a the University of Miami. Author of "Cuba: From Columbus to Castro."

From The Reading List

USA Today: U.S. seeks to normalize relations with Cuba — "The biggest shift in the American-Cuban relationship since formal ties were severed in 1961 — the year the president was born — includes new rules for banking and financial dealings as well as a general easing of the U.S. embargo against Cuba and the opening of a U.S. embassy in Havana, said Obama and other officials."

New York Times: Obama Announces U.S. and Cuba Will Resume Diplomatic Relations — "In a deal negotiated during 18 months of secret talks hosted largely by Canada and encouraged by Pope Francis, who hosted a final meeting at the Vatican, Mr. Obama and President Raúl Castro of Cuba agreed in a telephone call to put aside decades of hostility to find a new relationship between the United States and the island nation just 90 miles off the American coast."

Miami Herald: U.S.-Cuba policy overhaul sends shockwaves through Miami exile community — "The political ground shook in South Florida on Wednesday when President Barack Obama announced plans to restore full diplomatic relations with Communist Cuba. Miami, the heart of the Cuban exile community, reacted with a collective shock. Hardline opponents of the Castro regime lambasted the president for what they called a betrayal."

This program aired on December 18, 2014.

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