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Obama's Cuba Policy Is Change We Can Believe in

A shoe repair entrepreneur in Cuba

A shoe repair entrepreneur in Cuba meets with a customer. (AP Photo)

December 18, 2014

It’s what you don’t expect to wake up to on a mild December morning: Alan Gross has boarded a plane home from Havana, and President Barack Obama is slated to give remarks that would finally restore normalized relations with Cuba.

Change you can believe in? I’ll say amen to that.

The release of Gross, a U.S. Agency for International Development contractor (on the first day of Hanukkah, no less), is a long-awaited and welcome return, signaling one of the more important shifts in U.S. and Cuba policy in more than 50 years.

If Obama had only announced the release of Gross, that would have been enough. But he went further.

In an effort to move toward normalizing diplomatic and economic relations with the island just 90 miles off U.S. shores, Obama announced a comprehensive list of reforms that the U.S. will make in its policy toward Cuba. They include everything from finally reopening the U.S. embassy in Havana as part of normalizing diplomatic relations to re-examining Cuba’s designation to the State Sponsor of Terrorism list, expanding travel under general licenses, and increasing commerce and telecommunications. All of the above are executive action reforms that we at the Americas Society and Council of the Americas have been advocating for years....

Read the full article in U.S. News & World Report's online opinion section.