U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela deliver remarks to reporters after a bilateral meeting in Panama City April 10, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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Obama and Castro, brother of longtime former Cuban President Fidel Castro, first spoke in a December phone call as both announced their intent to restore diplomatic relations between their countries, a move that sent shockwaves through Latin America.The flurry of diplomacy was likely to reinvigorate ongoing efforts by the U.S. and Cuba to start their relationship anew after five decades of American presidents either isolating or working to overthrow Fidel Castro's government.The U.S. has long since stopped actively accusing Cuba of supporting terrorism, and Obama has hinted at his willingness to take Cuba off the list ever since he and Castro announced a thaw in relations in December. Four months ago, Obama and Castro began a painstaking process that has brought to the surface difficult issues that have long fed in to the U.S.-Cuban estrangement.Later, Obama and Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela stood over the shoulders of the CEOs of Boeing and Copa Airlines as they signed a deal for the Panamanian airline to purchase 61 of the U.S. airplane giant's 737 aircraft.Obama says it means 12,000 jobs in the United States.
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