5-speed listening (Level 3)

Major breakthrough in US-Cuba relations



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A new chapter is starting with relations between the USA and Cuba. The two countries have had very little contact with each other for over fifty years. That changed on Wednesday when US President Barack Obama announced he wanted to get the relationship between the USA and Cuba back to normal. One of the first things President Obama wants to do is to restore diplomatic and economic ties. He told reporters that: "Today, America chooses to cut loose the shackles of the past." Cuban President Raul Castro said: "We have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations." The two sides have been in secret talks for more than a year. Some negotiations were at the Vatican and included help from Pope Francis.

The White House announced a series of actions to reset relations between the two nations. The USA will no longer state that Cuba sponsors terrorism. It will be easier for US citizens to travel to and do business in Cuba. There will also be better telephone and Internet access for people to communicate with each other. A major change is the lifting of the 54-year-old trade embargo that stops US goods going to Cuba and all Cuban goods going to the USA. Mr Castro said he has worked hard for the normalisation of ties with the USA. He said he hoped the two countries could now share a brighter future together. He told reporters: "We must learn the art of coexisting with our differences in a civilised manner."

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