Can the U.S. Thaw Relations with Cuba?

After President Obama moved to restore U.S. relations with Cuba, what does the future hold for the two countries? ABC News' Jim Avila reports from Havana, Cuba.
2:06 | 12/21/14

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Transcript for Can the U.S. Thaw Relations with Cuba?
Our "Closer look" at president Obama's historic move this week on Cuba. His decision to re-open diplomatic relations after a break of more than half a century has drawn a sharp response from gop leaders like Marco Rubio. We're going to hear from him after this report from ABC's Jim Avila, who traveled to Havana. ? Reporter: Cuba has long been the forbidden fruit of the caribbean. History freeze frame. But this week president Obama officially ended 50 years of American hostility to the socialist island proclaiming five decades of isolation a failure, and Raul Castro over the weekend declaring victory for outlasting isolation. If you've done the same thing for 50 years and nothing has changed, you should try something different. If you want a different outcome. Reporter: The president conducting 18 months of secret negotiations orchestrating an historic prisoner swap. Alan gross, the U.S. Government contractor, jailed for espionage for five years, and a true spy, a mysterious cia operative imprisoned for 20 years in exchange for three Cuban agents jailed in the U.S. Soon the U.S. Will have an actual embassy here in Havana allowing politicians to talk to each other directly instead of in secret. Sources tell ABC news the first state department official to visit Cuba publicly is scheduled to land in Havana the second week of January followed shortly by the secretary of state John Kerry. But critics counter now is the time for the U.S. To step up sanctions against Castro and complain that president Obama did not get enough from Havana. In Miami, there were small demonstrations against Obama's actions. Despite polls that show broad American support for lifting the 53-year-old trade embargo, even polls in south Florida show support for closer ties. In Havana, I spoke to tourism students. We want to go there and Americans can come here. Reporter: Cuba and the U.S., just 90 miles apart, will again soon act like it. For "This week," Jim Avila, ABC news, Havana.

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