WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says U.S. policy toward Cuba is "long past its expiration date" and is urging Congress to end the long-running embargo.
Obama says in remarks prepared for delivery for Tuesday's State of the Union address that reopening diplomatic ties has the potential to end a legacy of mistrust and extends the hand of friendship to the Cuban people.
He offered a welcome home to Alan Gross, whose release from Cuba in a prisoner exchange last month cleared the way for a new relationship. Gross was given a place of honor with first lady Michelle Obama for the speech.
Obama's remarks came on the eve of talks between U.S. and Cuban officials about reopening embassies in each other's capitals. A U.S. delegation is scheduled to arrive Wednesday in Havana.