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President Eases Sanctions, Opens U.S. Banking System to Cuba

By Kira Zalan

President Obama announced plans Wednesday to significantly ease commercial and economic sanctions targeting Cuba, dismantling key elements of the 54-year U.S. embargo against the Caribbean nation. The announcement came hours after Cuba released U.S. contractor Alan Gross, who had been detained five years, and exchanged an American spy held for 20 years for three Cuban agents incarcerated since 2001. The two nations have been holding secret talks in Canada and the Vatican for the past 18 months, senior administration officials confirmed on a background call with reporters. The sweeping policy changes will permit U.S. banks to open correspondent accounts at...

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