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US President Barack Obama today announced changes in US policy toward Cuba, including the restoration of diplomatic relations and the lifting of the ban on travel by Americans to Cuba.

However, still remains intact key provisions of the economic, commercial and financial blockade that the White House has maintained against the island for more than 50 years, but said that his administration would welcome congressional action to relax or lift these unilateral sanctions.

Obama said he instructed the Secretary of State, John Kerry, to start direct talks with Havana for an eventual restoration of diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies in their respective capitals, as well as evaluating the possibility of eliminating Cuba from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism.

The head of the White House also decided to eliminate some of the remaining restrictions on remittances by Cuban-Americans to relatives in Cuba, and the establishment of some trade facilitation and conducting banking transactions between two nations.

We are doing the right thing, said Obama, who said he held on Tuesday a telephone conversation with Cuban President Raul Castro, the first direct contact between leaders of the two countries in more than half century, in which both discussed key aspects of the links bilateral.

Among the measures announced by the head of the White House is the increase of telecommunications with Cuba, for which facilities on the island will be given to acquire the necessary technology.

The president thanked their role in the negotiations on this topic Pope Francisco and the government of Canada and a group of US lawmakers who gave their efforts to achieve these agreements.

Obama also announced the release of three Cuban anti-terrorists who were imprisoned in US jails for over 16 years.

The main television networks, newspapers and US digital media echoed early hours of this morning's announcement of the intervention of Cuban President Raul Castro and the public appearance of Obama.

Source: Prensa Latina

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