The United States and Cuba are moving toward repairing a strained relationship that has persisted for more than half a century. Barack Obama and Raúl Castro have announced their intention to restore diplomatic relations, indicated by their decisions in December 2014 to release political prisoners. In a lead-up to this historic decision representatives from both countries met under the encouragement and facilitation of Pope Francis, who, as the first Latin American pope, has an inherent interest in the region. The two countries hope to come to an agreement regarding the reestablishment of embassies before Obama and Castro attend the Summit of the Americas in Panama in mid April. Obama is optimistic that this restored relationship will improve the United States’ reputation with other countries in the Western Hemisphere.
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