MIAMI (CBSMiami) — It’s been a year since President Barack Obama announced the United States and Cuba planned to normalize relations.READ MORE: Arrest Affidavit: Accused Hollywood Cop Killer Jason Banegas Claims He Was Trying To Kill Himself In Struggle With Slain Officer Yandy Chirino
“We have made good progress and come a long way…our two countries have engaged in historic dialogue,” said Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba.
As part of his announcement, the president said the goal was to promote increased travel, commerce and flow of information to the Cuban people.
DeLaurentis said the renewed relations have helped promote a private sector in Cuba. The island nation, within this year, has also signed an agreement with two U.S. companies to allegedly promote the flow of information.
Travel to Cuba has also gone up by over 50 percent within the year, said DeLaurentis.
Despite both sides progress towards renewed relations, DeLaurentis said there are still disagreements.
“Property claims, fugitives and human rights….we have started the process of exchanging views with Cuba and plan to continue within the following year,” he said.READ MORE: Parkland Families Say They Want The Death Penalty
There is also the controversial issue of the embargo against Cuba.
President Obama has called for an end to the embargo and so have Cuban foreign officials but the main decision is left to Congress. The embargo can only be repealed by them. The president has already used executive authority twice to ease the embargo as part of his opening to the island nation.
“With Cuba just 90 miles from our coast, it is imperative that we have frank and open conversations with our neighbor,” said DeLaurentis.
He reiterated the United States continues to urge the Cuban government to take advantage of renewed relations and give their people more space.
“We still urge Cuban government to unleash and not constrain the potential of its citizens,” said DeLaurentis.MORE NEWS: Push For State To Require Teaching Of Asian American History In Public Schools
Click here to read more about U.S.- Cuba Relations.