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  • Dec 17- After twenty years, Thomas Herzfeld's long bet on Cuba is paying off. The Miami Beach- based portfolio manager behind the $25.3 million Herzfeld Caribbean Basin fund, the only Cuba- focused fund in the United States, watched its shares soar more than 40 percent at one point on Wednesday after President Barack Obama's surprise move to thaw relations with the...

  • The United States' commercial ties with Cuba were broken 54 years ago after Fidel Castro took over. Now U.S.- Cuba trade is poised to resume: President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced plans to re-establish diplomat relations with Havana, and economic ties are expected to follow. Gary Hufbauer and Barbara Kotschwar of the Peterson Institute for...

  • Colombian rebels announce unilateral cease-fire Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 3:38 PM ET

    HAVANA— Colombia's largest rebel group announced an indefinite, unilateral cease-fire Wednesday, saying guerrillas will refrain from staging attacks so long as they aren't targeted by the U.S.-backed military. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia made the announcement in Cuba at the end of another round of peace talks aimed at ending Latin...

  • HAVANA/ WASHINGTON, Dec 17- President Barack Obama announced the United States would restore diplomatic relations it severed with Cuba more than 50 years ago, drawing resistance from lawmakers opposed to reconciling with the communist-run island. Obama said the moves were made possible by Havana's release of American Alan Gross, 65, who had been imprisoned...

  • WASHINGTON, Dec 17- The renewal of full diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba could be the start of a long thaw in decades of animosity but the path is full of obstacles, not least the U.S. sanctions on the Communist-run island. Only Congress can overturn the law, and with Republicans due to take control of both the House of Representatives and the...

  • OTTAWA, Dec 17- Canada's decision to host secret talks between the United States and Cuba on normalizing relations allowed the two countries the discretion they needed, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Wednesday. In a brief statement, Harper congratulated the two on their successful dialogue and said Canada supported a future for Cuba that fully...

  • White House does not rule out Cuba visit by Obama Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 2:29 PM ET

    President Barack Obama does not have concrete plans to visit Cuba after restoring diplomatic relations with Havana, but a White House spokesman said on Wednesday he would not rule out a presidential visit. "If there is an opportunity for the president to visit, I'm sure he wouldn't turn it down," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.

  • Analysis: 53 years on, time right for US, Cuba Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 2:21 PM ET

    MEXICO CITY— After 53 years of hostility between the United States and Cuba, the timing to make amends was perfect for both governments. The surprise moves come as President Barack Obama is turning his attention to legacy issues, and Raul Castro is trying to boost his nation's economic fortunes in the face of stalled reforms and falling oil prices that have hit...

  • NEW YORK, Dec 17- A tiny mutual fund based in Miami, a clutch of cruise line operators and a Canadian natural resources company are the early winners in the Obama administration's surprise move on Wednesday to thaw relations with Cuba. While the Cuban economy is small, with gross domestic product of roughly $70 billion, according to the World Bank, comparable to...

  • Announcing the end of what he called a "rigid" policy of isolation of Cuba that had been ineffective, Obama said the United States would move toward normal ties and would open an embassy in Cuba. Castro spoke in Cuba as Obama made his announcement on a policy shift made possible by the release of American Alan Gross, 65, who had been imprisoned in Cuba for five years.

  • WASHINGTON, Dec 17- The renewal of full diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba could be the start of a long thaw in decades of animosity but the path is full of obstacles, not least the U.S. sanctions on the Communist-run island. Only Congress can overturn the law, and with Republicans due to take control of both the House of Representatives and the...

  • Announcing the end of what he called a "rigid" policy of isolation of Cuba that had been ineffective, Obama said the United States planned to move toward normal ties and would open an embassy in Cuba. Castro spoke in Cuba as Obama made his announcement on a policy shift made possible by the release of American Alan Gross, 65, who had been imprisoned in Cuba for five...

  • Cubans cheer historic renewal of US relations Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 12:13 PM ET

    HAVANA— Bells tolled in celebration and teachers halted lessons midday as President Raul Castro told his country Wednesday that Cuba was restoring relations with the United States after more than a half-century of hostility. President Barack Obama in Washington. Guillermo Delgado, a 72- year-old retiree, welcomed the announcement as "a victory for Cuba...

  • US travel industry carefully eyeing Cuba tourism Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 12:11 PM ET

    NEW YORK— Cuba was once a haven for sun-seeking American tourists. President Barack Obama's announcement Wednesday of plans to re-establish diplomatic ties with Cuba doesn't suddenly lift the ban on U.S. tourism. "Cuba is the largest country in the Caribbean, so there's some exciting possibilities," said Roger Frizzell, spokesman for Carnival Corp. He said "some...

  • FACTBOX-How Obama will relax U.S. Cuba policy Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 12:03 PM ET

    Dec 17- President Barack Obama moved on Wednesday to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba, a shift the White House said was needed because the long-standing U.S. embargo against the communist-ruled island has failed to promote democracy and has hurt the Cuban people. *U.S. officials will discuss maritime boundaries with Cuba and Mexico in the Gulf of...

  • White House fact sheet on change in Cuba policy Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 12:00 PM ET

    Today, the United States is taking historic steps to chart a new course in our relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people. It is clear that decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed to accomplish our enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba. At times, longstanding U.S. policy towards...

  • HAVANA/ WASHINGTON, Dec 17- President Barack Obama was set to announce that the United States and Cuba are moving to normalize diplomatic relations more than 50 years after they were severed, the biggest U.S. policy shift in decades of hostile ties with the island. Previewing his announcement, U.S. officials said the United States and Cuba would move to open...

  • President Barack Obama was set to announce a shift in policy toward Cuba on Wednesday and the Associated Press reported the changes would include the opening of an embassy in Cuba and the start of talks to normalize relations. The shift in policy, which could be one of the biggest changes in decades of animosity between communist-ruled Cuba and the United...

  • US, Cuba patch torn relations in historic accord Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 8:56 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— After a half-century of Cold War acrimony, the United States and Cuba moved on Wednesday to restore diplomatic relations— a historic shift that could revitalize the flow of money and people across the narrow waters that separate the two nations. President Barack Obama's dramatic announcement in Washington— seconded by Cuban President Raul...

  • ALBA countries gather in Cuba on 10th anniversary Sunday, 14 Dec 2014 | 11:54 AM ET

    HAVANA— The left-leaning regional economic and diplomatic bloc known as ALBA marked its 10th anniversary Sunday amid pressures made by tumbling oil prices on petroleum-producing countries such as top ALBA member Venezuela. Presidents Nicolas Maduro, of Venezuela; Daniel Ortega, of Nicaragua; and Evo Morales, of Bolivia joined Raul Castro, of Cuba for the...