Updated 04:26 PM EST, Sun, Jan 23, 2022

U.S., Cuba Diplomatic Relations To Be Recovered; Social Media Reactions Mixed After Obama's Dec. 2014 Announcement

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More than half a century after diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba broke off, President Barack Obama on Wednesday, December 17, 2014, announced a break in the stalemate that began with the Cold War. As expected, this announcement threw the social media world into a frenzy.

"We will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interest and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries," Obama said in a nationally televised statement. The deal will "begin a new chapter among the nations of the Americas."

A prison swap mediated by Pope Francis led to the release of Alan Gross, an American contractor charged with destabilizing and subverting the government five years ago, and a Cuban who worked as an agent for American intelligence. In exchange, the U.S. sent back three imprisoned Cuban spies caught 16 years ago.

While a 54-year-old trade embargo remains in place, the agreement eases travel restrictions on public performances, family visits, and educational and religious activities. Ordinary tourism is still banned under law. Congress still has to lift economic sanctions but looser restrictions has businesses eager to access the Cuban market.

"It is the end of an era and hopefully a new one in an era where civil society is a protagonist."

Some are not as eager to rekindle ties with the Caribbean island. Cuban-Americans in particular feel that easing tension on the Cuban government is a mistake, especially with the country's history of human rights abuse. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a son to Cuban immigrants, share his disgust for the brokered deal.

"This president is the single worst negotiator we have had in the White House in my lifetime," Rubio said in a televised statement. "Who as basically given the Cuban government everything it asked for and received no assurances of any advances of democracy and freedom in return." Rubio said he would block any ambassardors planning on traveling to Cuba.

Secretive talks started in Canada 18 months ago. A deal was already in motion when Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro shook hands at Nelson Mandela's funeral last December. Congress can stop the deal but may not have enough votes to override a presidential veto.

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