US Continues National Emergency Over Cuba Ahead of Obama Historic Visit

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Havana - Sputnik International
President Barack Obama continued the US state of national emergency with respect to Cuba but recognized that the two countries were reestablishing and normalizing relations, the White House said in a letter to Congress on Wednesday.

Cuba's President Raul Castro gestures to journalists that he is not taking questions as he and US President Barack Obama hold a bilateral meeting during the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — In December 2014, Obama announced the United States would normalize relations with Cuba. The two countries reopened embassies in their respective capitals in July 2015 after more than 50 years of hostilities and non-engagement. In August, Kerry became the first state secretary to visit Cuba since 1961.

Obama is scheduled to visit Cuba on March 21-22 in a first official visit since 1928.

“I [Barack Obama] hereby report that I have issued a Proclamation to modify and continue the national emergency,” the letter stated. “The proclamation recognizes the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, and that the United States continues to pursue the progressive normalization of relations.”

Despite the rapprochement between the two countries, the United States continues to maintain a congressionally-mandated trade embargo on Cuba.

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