NEW YORK TIMES — President Obama on Wednesday announced his plans to formally re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba this month, declaring that the two nations were ready to reopen embassies in each other’s capitals and to start a “new chapter” of engagement after more than a half-century of estrangement.
“Our nations are separated by only 90 miles, and there are deep bonds of family and friendship between our people, but there have been very real, profound differences between our governments, and sometimes we allow ourselves to be trapped by a certain way of doing things,” Mr. Obama said in the Rose Garden at the White House, taking note of the decades of hostility born of the Cold War that prompted the United States to isolate its neighbor to the south, a strategy he said had failed.
The diplomatic breakthrough is the most concrete progress to date in Mr. Obama’s push, announced in December after months of secret talks, for an official rapprochement with Cuba.
In announcing it, the president was cementing a central element of his foreign policy legacy that has engendered stiff resistance in Congress, particularly among Republicans and Cuban-American lawmakers, and is likely to become a flash point in the 2016 presidential campaign.
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