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    U.S.-Cuba harmony will take time – Leahy

    Leahy: U.S.-Cuba harmony will take time
    Paris Achen, Burlington (Vt.) Free Press 8:01 p.m. EDT August 17, 2015

    BURLINGTON, Vt. — U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, saw the result
    last week of decades of meeting secretly and publicly with Cuban
    officials to normalize relations with the United States. But he says
    full rapprochement will take time.

    Leahy and his wife, Marcelle Leahy, traveled with U.S. Secretary of
    State John Kerry to attend the opening of the U.S. embassy in Havana
    Friday, 54 years after officials severed diplomatic ties between the two

    The senator, who has been involved in rapprochement efforts for 20
    years, said he teared up when he heard applause from Americans
    and Cubans alike as the flag was raised over the embassy and a U.S. Army
    band played the Star-Spangled Banner.

    “I felt very fortunate to be there,” Leahy said. “It was a remarkable,
    remarkable time.

    “I’ll admit that I had a couple of tears flowing, after all these years
    to see this.”

    Leahy, who also led efforts to free imprisoned U.S. aid worker Alan
    Gross last December, said full reconciliation between the neighboring
    countries will take more time.

    Lifting the trade embargo imposed on Cuba in 1961 would open up travel
    and educational opportunities for Americans and Cubans, Leahy said.

    “It will bring about some changes in their government,” he said. “It’ll
    be much harder for them to have censorship and control their people.

    “And it will remove what is really a bad mark on the United States.
    There is nowhere in the world you go where you can justify our
    restrictions on Cuba.”

    Leahy said American businesses support lifting the embargo.

    The Vermont Chamber of Commerce, for instance, has requested a trade
    mission in Cuba, Leahy said. Cuba imports its milk from New Zealand. It
    would be less expensive to import the milk from the United States, Leahy

    The senator and his wife plan to take a vacation to Cuba soon to go
    diving near a coral reef reputed to be “better than anywhere in the

    Source: Leahy: U.S.-Cuba harmony will take time –