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Dakota Midday: Restoring Relations with Cuba

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
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President Obama made a surprise announcement on Wednesday restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba after five decades. The U.S. severed ties with Cuba in 1961 two years after Fidel Castro and his communist rebels took power. The President said, "we will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests.”  In Havana, Cuban leader Raul Castro, who took over the country when his brother fell ill in 2008, welcomed the new ties with the U.S. while acknowledging numerous issues remained. Obama said as changes unfold, he will talk to Congress about lifting the economic embargo on Cuba.

The announcement has received mixed reactions from lawmakers. Some are praising the President’s actions, others say he's vindicating the brutal behavior of the Cuban government.

University of South Dakota political science professor Eric Jepsen teaches Latin American politics. He joined Dakota Midday and discussed the President's historic announcement.

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