In a speech at the White House on Wednesday, President Obama announced that the United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba and open an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than 50 years. America "changing its relationship with the people of Cuba," he said, adding, "We will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests." Obama pointed out that the U.S. has relations with China as well as Vietnam, "where we fought a war that claimed more Americans than any Cold War confrontation." The policy, he claimed, was "rooted in events that took place before most of us were born." He said that what had stood in the way for him doing more to change relations with Cuba was "the wrongful imprisonment" of U.S. contractor Alan Gross.
The president also said his administration will look into changing the designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terror. On Tuesday, Obama spoke to Raul Castro for 45 minutes to discuss the historic announcement. It's the first phone call between the leaders of the U.S. and Cuba in decades.