U.S.-Cuban thaw is generally applauded here

Costa Ricans generally applauded the decision by U.S. President Barack Obama to thaw relations with Cuba.

The Spanish-language daily La Nación dedicated the top of its Internet edition and and made the report the lead in the printed Thursday paper.

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Some lawmakers responded to the announcement by placing a floral offering at the bust of Cuban hero José Marti at a local park.

The Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto expressed its enormous satisfaction at the normalizing of relations between what it called its two friends and said that the action was a new step for the entire American community.

Costa Rica ended its shunning of Cuba five years ago.

The jubilation might be premature because much of what Obama sought, including opening a U.S. Embassy in Havana, had to pass through the Congress. which will be governed by Republicans in the new year. And U.S. lawmakers are split on Obama’s action and not always along party lines.

Obama said he was expanding but not ending the rules that prohibit Americans from traveling to Cuba. U.S. citizens can now visit Cuba as members of organized groups that receive U.S.

La Nación treated the news as something bigger than a soccer championship.

La Nación treated the news as something
bigger than a soccer championship.

approval. U.S. expats here easily evade these prohibitions, with the help of Cuban immigration workers who do not stamp their passports.

Although Cuba has world class beaches and is just 90 miles from Florida, there probably will not be an early impact on the Costa Rica tourist trade. Those who travel on approved groups say that they are under strict rules not to deviate from the reason for their visit. Those on cultural and educational visits, for example, are forbidden to swim, they said.

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