''We are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date,'' says Obama in regards to U.S.-Cuba relations, as he welcomes home freed U.S. aid worker Alan Gross. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) In his State of the Union address on Tuesday (January 20), U.S. President Barack Obama spoke about Cuba saying, "We are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date." Cuba will tell the United States in face-to-face talks this week it wants to be removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism before restoring diplomatic relations, a senior foreign ministry official said on Tuesday. The two adversaries will meet in Havana on Wednesday and Thursday in an attempt to restore ties that the United States severed in 1961. They are the first talks since U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced on Dec. 17 they would resume diplomatic ties and swap prisoners in a historic shift after five decades of hostilities. "When what you're doing doesn't work for fifty years, it's time to try something new," Obama said. "Our shift in Cuba policy has the potential to end a legacy of mistrust in our hemisphere; removes a phony excuse for restrictions in Cuba; stands up for democratic values; and extends the hand of friendship to the Cuban people. And this year, Congress should begin the work of ending the embargo. As His Holiness, Pope Francis, has said, diplomacy is the work of "small steps." These small steps have added up to new hope for the future in Cuba. And after years in prison, we're overjoyed that Alan Gross is back where he belongs. Welcome home, Alan."