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Rocco Palmo: Whatever Francis Wants, Francis Gets – Pope Clinches US-Cuba Pact

17. dec. 2014

Rocco Palmo skriver på sin blog bl.a.:

Not many people get to celebrate their birthday with a diplomatic romp... but on his 78th, the Pope can claim precisely that.

Announced this morning by President Obama in a White House stand-up, the US' "reset" paving the way toward full bilateral relations with Cuba and enhanced economic ties has largely been credited to the influence of the Pope and concerted back-channel work on the part of the Holy See. 

As Obama himself stated, at their March meeting in the Vatican, "His Holiness Pope Francis issued a personal appeal to me" to enter into talks with President Raul Castro to negotiate the release of Alan Gross, the American humanitarian worker imprisoned on the island for five years, while the pontiff urged Castro to pursue the reeturn of three Cubans jailed in the US with the White House. After initial contacts pointed toward a resolution, a November meeting of both sides at the Vatican clinched the agreement that saw Gross returned to the US this morning (along with a jailed US intelligence operative) and the Cubans likewise freed to the island. 

In a rare evening statement, the Vatican Secretariat of State said that Francis "wishes to express his warm congratulations for the historic decision taken by the Governments of the United States of America and Cuba to establish diplomatic relations, with the aim of overcoming, in the interest of the citizens of both countries, the difficulties which have marked their recent history." The Holy See promised to continue "its support for initiatives which both nations will undertake to strengthen their bilateral relations and promote the wellbeing of their respective citizens."


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Published on Dec 17, 2014: American President Barack Obama and Cuban leader, Raul Castro announced that the U.S and Cuba will re-establish diplomatic relations. They decided to make the announcement, on December 17th, the Pope's 78th birthday.

Published on Mar 28, 2014: President Obama spoke with "CBS Evening News" anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley, one day after meeting Pope Francis for the first time.

On December 17, 2014, President Obama delivered remarks on next steps he's taking to chart a new course on U.S.-Cuba relations.