Thaw in relations with Cuba positive for U.S. agriculture: USDA

CHICAGO - Exports of U.S. agricultural products such as wheat, rice, soybeans and meat products stand to gain from a surprise U.S. move toward repairing relations with Cuba, agriculture industry officials said on Wednesday.

Cuba's Castro hails new era of 'living together' with U.S.

HAVANA - Cuban President Raul Castro hailed a landmark exchange of prisoners with the United States on Wednesday and praised U.S. President Barack Obama as the two countries agreed to normalize relations after more than five decades of hostility. The United States freed three convicted Cuban spies in return for the release of U.S. foreign aid worker Alan Gross, imprisoned in Cuba in 2009, and of an intelligence agent who spied for the United States and had been held for nearly 20 ye

Politics, U.S., World, 17 Dec 2014

Factbox: Who is Alan Gross and what did he do?

HAVANA - Alan Gross, a 65-year-old U.S. foreign aid worker freed from a Cuban prison on Wednesday, was arrested in Cuba in 2009 and sentenced to 15 years for importing banned technology and trying to establish clandestine Internet service for Cuban Jews.

World, Politics, U.S. 17 Dec 2014

Many Americans open to better ties with Cuba: Reuters/Ipsos poll

WASHINGTON - Though lawmakers from both political parties lambasted President Barack Obama on Wednesday for shifting U.S. policy on Cuba, Americans by and large are open to stronger ties with the communist-governed island, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Politics, U.S., World 17 Dec 2014

Spy freed from Cuban prison hailed as secret U.S. hero

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama hailed him as one of the best spies America has ever had in Cuba, but precious little is known about the Cuban man freed in a prisoner swap on Wednesday after two decades of incarceration on the Communist island.

World, 17 Dec 2014

Latin America welcomes Obama's move to restore U.S.-Cuba ties

BRASILIA - Latin American leaders who for years have pressured the United States to drop its economic embargo against Cuba praised President Barack Obama for moving on Wednesday to restore diplomatic relations with its communist-run Cold War foe.

World, Politics, U.S. 17 Dec 2014

'I'm free,' says American after five years held in Cuba

WASHINGTON - The messages from Alan Gross had grown increasingly ominous. In May, on his 65th birthday, the former U.S. aid worker said he would rather die than spend another birthday in a Cuban prison. Two weeks ago, his wife said he was "literally wasting away."

World, Politics, U.S. 17 Dec 2014

From joy to outrage, Florida's Cuban-Americans greet new U.S. policy

MIAMI - Some Cuban exiles responded with outrage. Others with ecstasy.

U.S., Politics, 17 Dec 2014

Thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations won't affect baseball right away: experts

WASHINGTON - There will be no immediate flow of top Cuban players into Major League Baseball despite the major U.S. policy shift toward the communist-run island, experts on baseball in Cuba said on Wednesday.

Politics, World, U.S. 17 Dec 2014

U.S.-Cuba rapprochement exposes Venezuela's Maduro

CARACAS - Even as Cuba and the United States try to bury 50 years of enmity, Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro has seemed to be going in the other direction, vilifying "insolent Yankees" at rallies and threatening to cut ties completely.

Politics, World, U.S., Venezuela 17 Dec 2014

U.S., Cuba restore ties after 50 years

HAVANA/WASHINGTON - The United States and Cuba agreed on Wednesday to restore diplomatic ties that Washington severed more than 50 years ago, and President Barack Obama called for an end to the long economic embargo against its old Cold War enemy. | Video