News broke on Wednesday, December 17, that the United States plans to restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba and will open an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than 50 years. The historic move came after the release of an American intelligence agent who had been in captivity in a Cuban prison for 20 years, and an American contractor, Alan P. Gross, who had been captive for five. In exchange, the U.S. released three Cuban spies who had been imprisoned in the U.S. since 2001.
Secret talks were held over the last 18 months between Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro, encouraged by Canada and Pope Francis. Establishing direct contact between leaders of the two countries for the first time in half a century, Obama and Castro reportedly had a phone call on Tuesday to finalize the deal.
Calling the embargo on Cuba a failure, Obama addressed the nation in a televised speech Wednesday morning, stating: “We will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries.”
Google and the Celia Cruz estate have collaborated to honor the Queen of Salsa on what would have been her 88th birthday. Ten years after her passing, she continues to bring so much joy into our lives through her music and the Google Doodle is a symbol of how far-reaching her impact is.
Gloria Estefan (the other queen, in my book) once told me a great anecdote of a time when she played a show with Celia and how, even though her knees were killing her from arthritis, she never once showed it during her performance. She never once complained about it backstage. Instead, she got up onstage and gave the crowd everything she had.