LIVE: President Obama Delivers Remarks on Shift in US Policy Toward Cuba

{!hitembed ID=”hitembed_1″ width=”560″ height=”315″ align=”none” !}
President Barack Obama is making a statement on a shift in United States policy toward Cuba. The shift comes after US Agency for International Development contractor Alan Gross and three members of the “Cuban Five” were freed from Cuba and the US in a prisoner swap.

The Associated Press reports, according to unnamed US officials leaking details ahead of Obama’s statement, that the US and Cuba have “agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties.”

Cuban President Raul Castro and Obama will be making addresses to their countries simultaneously.

“The two leaders spoke by phone for more than 45 minutes Tuesday, the first substantive presidential-level discussion between the US and Cuba since 1961,” according to AP.

For over a year, “secret talks” between the two countries have been ongoing in Canada and the Vatican. “Pope Francis was personally engaged in the process and sent separate letters to Obama and Castro this summer urging them to restart relations.” (Maybe Pope Francis and Raul Castro can proceed to escalate pressure for the closure of Guantanamo Bay prison facilities and the entire US military base.)

A US embassy will reopen in Havana. Travel bans will be eased for “family visits, official US government business and educational activities,” however, tourism bans will remain in effect.

Additionally, “Licensed American travelers to Cuba will now be able to return to the U.S. with $400 in Cuban goods, including tobacco and alcohol products worth less than $100 combined. This means the long-standing ban on importing Cuban cigars is over, although there are still limits.”

This, of course, means that all the Cold War hawks will come out of the woodwork today and appear on cable and network news programs. It will be especially maddening when they appear as guests on “Meet the Press” this weekend.

And let’s wait and see what happens before calling this an “overhaul.”

LIVE: President Obama Delivers Remarks on Shift in US Policy Toward Cuba

{!hitembed ID=”hitembed_1″ width=”560″ height=”315″ align=”none” !}

President Barack Obama is making a statement on a shift in United States policy toward Cuba. The shift comes after US Agency for International Development contractor Alan Gross and three members of the “Cuban Five” were freed from Cuba and the US in a prisoner swap.

The Associated Press reports, according to unnamed US officials leaking details ahead of Obama’s statement, that the US and Cuba have “agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties.”

Cuban President Raul Castro and Obama will be making addresses to their countries simultaneously.

“The two leaders spoke by phone for more than 45 minutes Tuesday, the first substantive presidential-level discussion between the US and Cuba since 1961,” according to AP.

For over a year, “secret talks” between the two countries have been ongoing in Canada and the Vatican. “Pope Francis was personally engaged in the process and sent separate letters to Obama and Castro this summer urging them to restart relations.” (Maybe Pope Francis and Raul Castro can proceed to escalate pressure for the closure of Guantanamo Bay prison facilities and the entire US military base.)

A US embassy will reopen in Havana. Travel bans will be eased for “family visits, official US government business and educational activities,” however, tourism bans will remain in effect.

Additionally, “Licensed American travelers to Cuba will now be able to return to the U.S. with $400 in Cuban goods, including tobacco and alcohol products worth less than $100 combined. This means the long-standing ban on importing Cuban cigars is over, although there are still limits.”

This, of course, means that all the Cold War hawks will come out of the woodwork today and appear on cable and network news programs. It will also be especially maddening when they appear as guests on “Meet the Press” this weekend.

And let’s wait and see what happens before calling this an “overhaul.”