Marking anniversary, Obama says long journey for US, Cuba

Barack Obama, Raul Castro
FILE - In this April 11, 2015, file photo, Cuban President Raul Castro, left, and U.S. President Barack Obama meet at the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama, Saturday. The United States and Cuba publicly say they’re delighted with the state of diplomatic relations a year after Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro declared the end to more than 50 years of official hostility. The two countries have reopened embassies in Havana and Washington; agreed to a pilot program restarting direct mail service; signed two deals on environmental protection; and launched talks on issues from human rights to compensation for U.S. properties confiscated by Cuba’s revolution. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says the process of normalizing relations with Cuba will take time, but there’s progress already.

Obama is marking the one-year anniversary of the announcement by the United States and Cuba of plans to restore relations.

Obama says both countries have taken important steps in that year to normalize relations. He’s pointing to embassies reopened, freer travel and commerce, and more information flowing in and out of Cuba.

And the former enemies are close to a deal on restoring regularly scheduled commercial flights.

Obama wants Congress to lift the economic embargo on Cuba.

He says the U.S. still has differences with Cuba, including on human rights, and will keep raising those issues. But he says change doesn’t happen overnight.

 

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