The move, to be announced Thursday, also suggests Obama remains determined to push ahead with what he sees as a legacy achievement before leaving office a year from now. Since the historic thaw in ties was announced in November 2014, Obama has made steady progress breaking down diplomatic barriers with the former Cold War enemy. Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro have talked regularly and met twice.
Obama has worked hard to make sure the rapprochement goes beyond mere symbolism. Using his executive authority, he has persistently chipped away at the longstanding U.S. restrictions on business, investment and travel in Cuba. The latest step came last week, when the two countries reached an arrangement to restore the first direct commercial flights between the countries in more than 50 years.
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