Latin America celebrates push by Obama, Castro to heal U.S.-Cuba rift

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By Matt Spetalnick and David Alire Garcia PANAMA CITY (Reuters) – As Latin American leaders applaud a historic thawing of animosity between the United States and Cuba, U.S. President Barack Obama will meet Raul Castro for talks on Saturday that could further boost his reputation in the region. Obama and the Cuban president shook hands and spoke briefly at the opening ceremony of the Summit of the Americas on Friday night, a gesture that drew praise from other leaders who have in recent years called for changes in U.S. policy on Cuba. “The fact that Cuba is here is the greatest achievement of Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Maduro, who this week appeared to soften his stance toward Washington after a recent surge in tension.

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