A woman with a poster of the Cuban Five, that reads in Spanish "Freedom Now," celebrates their release, in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
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Bells tolled in celebration and teachers halted lessons midday as President Raul Castro told his country Wednesday that Cuba would renew relations with Washington after more than a half-century of hostility.Fidel and Raul Castro led the 1959 rebellion that toppled the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. The U.S. initially recognized the new government but broke relations in 1961 after Cuba veered sharply to the left and nationalized U.S.-owned businesses. As Cuba turned toward the Soviet Union, the U.S. imposed a trade embargo in 1962 . The Cuban government blames most of its economic travails on the embargo, while Washington has traditionally blamed Cuba's Communist economic policies. "It has managed to exchange a peaceful man, embarked on the humanitarian adventure of providing Internet connectivity to a group of Cubans, for intelligence agents that caused significant damage and sorrow with their actions".Some dissidents expressed their displeasure at not being consulted by the U.S. government about the historic move.
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