Eric Bradner, CNN
Washington (CNN)—President Barack Obama prodded Congress to eliminate the United States’ decades-old Cuba embargo Friday, saying that improving relations with the communist country will help open its “hermetically sealed society”—even if changes come in “fits and starts.”
He said he doesn’t expect lawmakers to strip the embargo away immediately, and that Congress will need time to digest a deal he struck this week to free American contractor Alan Gross, trade imprisoned spies and ease U.S. economic restrictions on Cuba in exchange for the release of dozens of political prisoners and expanded Internet there.
His comments came during a feisty year-end news conference Friday, just hours before Obama and his family boarded Air Force One for a holiday vacation in Hawaii.
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