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Mar 2, 2015

Cuba signals readiness to fast-track U.S. diplomatic ties

MIAMI/HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba is willing to restore diplomatic relations with the United States as soon as the Obama administration declares its intent to take the country off a list of state sponsors of terrorism, according to a senior Cuban official.

That could take place before both sides are ready to open embassies, Josefina Vidal, the head of the United States division at the Cuban Foreign Ministry told state media.

Mar 2, 2015

Fidel Castro finally meets the Cuban Five, spies turned heroes

HAVANA (Reuters) – Former Cuban President Fidel Castro, 88, finally met with all five of the Cuban spies who returned home as heroes after serving long prison terms in the United States, 73 days after the last of them were freed in a prisoner swap.

It had been highly anticipated as a reunion of Cuba’s most vaunted heroes. Cuban officials have not explained why it took so long to arrange.

Feb 25, 2015

Cuba says fast track to restoring ties ‘depends on U.S.’

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba would agree to restore diplomatic relations with the United States in time for the April Summit of the Americas if Washington quickly and convincingly removes the Caribbean country from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, a senior Cuban official said on Wednesday.

Diplomatic ties were severed in 1961, and negotiators for the two longtime adversaries will meet in Washington on Friday, following up on the first round of talks held in Havana last month.

Feb 24, 2015

Cuba honors five spies who served long prison terms in U.S.

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba President Raul Castro on Tuesday pinned medals on five spies, declaring them national heroes for infiltrating right-wing exile groups that plotted against Havana and for then enduring long prison terms in the United States.

The final three of the “Cuban Five” returned home in a prisoner exchange on Dec. 17 – the same day the United States and Cuba announced they would restore diplomatic ties and seek to end more than half a century of confrontation.

Feb 23, 2015

Cuban cigar maker eyes 25-30 percent of U.S. market if embargo lifted

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuban cigar-maker Habanos S.A. expects to immediately gain 25 to 30 percent of the U.S. premium cigar market if the United States lifts its trade embargo and up to 70 percent of the market within a few years, the company said on Monday.

Habanos S.A., a 50-50 joint venture between the Cuban state and Imperial Tobacco Group PLC (IMT.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), generated sales of $439 million in 2014 without direct access to the U.S. market.

Feb 21, 2015

Cuba frees Canadian businessman Tokmakjian after three years in jail

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba has freed Canadian businessman Cy Tokmakjian after more than three years in jail, his company said on Saturday, resolving a case that had strained Cuban-Canadian relations and alarmed foreign investors.

Tokmakjian, founder of the Ontario-based company, was convicted of bribery and other charges and sentenced to 15 years in September in what the transportation company had called a “show trial” and a “travesty of justice.”

Feb 20, 2015

Cuba, sorely lagging online, says it wants Internet for all

HAVANA, Feb 20 (Reuters) – Internet laggard Cuba once again
pledged online access for all its people on Friday,
acknowledging the country cannot develop without being better

Only a tiny fraction of Cubans have access to high-speed
Internet. Cuban officials have been promising better Internet
service for years but have cited the U.S. economic embargo and
political aggression as reasons for its stunted development.

Feb 19, 2015

U.S. congressional delegation meets Cuba’s heir apparent

HAVANA, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Nine members of the U.S. House of
Representatives met Cuban Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel on
Thursday, marking the first time Cuba’s heir apparent to power
has received an American delegation.

U.S. House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi
and eight other House Democrats concluded their two-day visit by
meeting Diaz-Canel, 54, who is first in line to the seat of
power held by brothers Fidel and Raul Castro since 1959.

Feb 17, 2015

U.S., Cuba to meet Feb. 27; senators see path for end to embargo

HAVANA, Feb 17 (Reuters) – The United States and Cuba will
hold a second round of talks in Washington nest week aimed at
restoring diplomatic relations, the State Department said on
Tuesday, as U.S. Democratic senators visiting Havana said there
may be enough support among Republicans to lift a trade embargo
on Cuba.

“The talks will be held on the 27th (of February) here at
the State Department,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki
told a daily briefing for reporters.

Feb 17, 2015

In Cuba, U.S. senators see path for end to U.S. embargo

HAVANA, Feb 17 (Reuters) – Three U.S. Democratic senators
visiting Havana said on Tuesday that there could be enough
Republicans who support lifting a trade embargo on Cuba to
dismantle it in Congress.

The United States and Cuba agreed on Dec. 17 to restore
diplomatic relations after more than five decades of hostility.
U.S. President Barack Obama has already started to lift barriers
to trade and travel.

    • About Daniel

      "Daniel Trotta joined Reuters as a correspondent in 1993, starting in Nicaragua and moving Mexico City (1996) and Madrid (2000) before coming to New York in 2005. As a U.S. General News correspondent, his specialty is writing the lead story on major breaking news. Trotta also travels the United States producing in-depth features and helps edit the national news file from the Reuters headquarters in New York. Outside the office, he is the manager of the New York Express of the New York City Metro Baseball League."
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