The United States and Cuba on Wednesday agreed a historic deal to re-establish full diplomatic relations, severed 54 years ago in the angry heat of the Cold War. Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro exchanged letters agreeing to unfreeze ties on July 20, when embassies in Washington and Havana can be reopened. Obama hailed the deal as a “historic step forward” that would end a failed and archaic policy of isolating the still Communist-ruled island. Obama — who was born the year the US embassy was closed — called on domestic critics to stop “clinging to a policy that was not working.” He pressed the Republican-controlled Congress to end a throttling US trade embargo set up in 1962.
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