USA-Cuban relations took a step towards becoming normal on Friday. The leaders of the two countries, Raul Castro and Barack Obama, shook hands at the Summit of the Americas in Panama. This is a meeting for North, Central and South America to discuss a better future for their continents. The historic handshake could end the bad relations between the USA and Cuba. The two countries have spoken very little for 50 years. America stopped its citizens from visiting Cuba and banned most Cuban exports to the USA. Over a decade ago, the USA said Cuba sponsored international terrorism.
Castro and Obama will have a sit-down meeting to discuss a better future together. The meeting will be the highest-level talks between the USA and Cuba since 1959. A US security advisor said: "The reason we're here is that the President strongly believes that an approach that was focused…totally on seeking to cut off the Cuban people from the USA had failed." President Obama said he thinks the Cuban people are "extraordinary" and have "huge potential". He said the majority of Cubans "are interested in moving forward". The two countries are only 151 km apart.