The good—and it’s-about-pinche-time—news broke this morning that after 53-plus years, the U.S. and Cuba are discussing normalizing their relations, including opening an embassy in Havana and lifting the embargo.
Cuba has freed an American prisoner, a contractor in jail for five years; and in return, the U.S. is releasing three Cuban spies, and, according to NPR, “an unnamed U.S. intelligence asset jailed in Cuba for 20 years.” (This is beginning to sound like a baseball trade.)
The INDY wrote about Raleigh’s Cuban community in 2009; at the time, more than 5,000 Cuban exiles lived in North Carolina.
President Obama is speaking at noon about this development. “Isolation has not worked,” Obama said, adding that he will discuss with Secretary of State John Kerry about revoking Cuba’s “terrorist state” status.
American citizens could also legally travel to Cuba . Right now, it’s technically illegal without permission and a license from the U.S. government, although it’s relatively easy to circumvent the law. (I visited in 2000 on a humanitarian license, flying through Toronto. The Cuban airport officials did not stamp my passport.)