U.S. President Barack Obama announces the first steps the U.S. will take in normalizing relations with Cuba. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) President Barack Obama announced a move to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba on Wednesday, saying it is time to "cut loose the shackles of the past." In a speech at the White House, Obama said the thaw in relations after a five-decade freeze is being made after he determined the "rigid" and outdated policy of the past failed to have an impact on Cuba. "Today the United States is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba. We will end an outdated approach that has failed to advance our interests and we will begin to normalize our relationships," Obama said. He said the new policy will make it easier for Americans to travel to Cuba. Obama said he would also talk to members of the U.S. Congress about lifting the U.S. embargo on Cuba. Pope Francis assisted in the thaw in relations by pressing for the release of American aid worker Alan Gross from Cuba, the president said.