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U.S. Policy

Senator Patrick J. Leahy leads the first official congressional delegation to Cuba since the restoration of diplomatic ties with the Caribbean island nation on December 17. 

Today, the U.S. Treasury and Commerce Departments published their revised regulations on travel to and trade with Cuba.

This week's likely top stories: Haiti attempts to negotiate its way out of political deadlock; Cuba frees 53 political prisoners, holding up its end of the rapprochement deal with U.S.; Mexico cuts funding to PEMEX causing major oil sector layoffs; the U.S. Supreme court declines to review a challenge to Louisiana’s gay marriage ban; China and CELAC hammer out the details of increased economic partnership.

This week's likely top stories: the Panama Canal gears up to expand its Pacific coast facilities; Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro travels to China and OPEC countries; the 114th U.S. Congress starts its session on Tuesday with a Republican majority and plenty of hot button issues for the Americas; the trial of Guatemalan General Efraín Ríos Montt on genocide resumes; Uruguayan First Lady Lucia Topolansky confirms she will run for mayor of Montevideo in 2015.

A longer look at the history of U.S.-Cuban relations suggests that much of the newly opened debate over future engagement rests on some of the same assumptions that shaped previous relations in the decades before the Cuban Revolution (1953-1959).

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Monday asked the U.S. Justice Department to designate a special prosecutor to examine the CIA’s use of torture as well as other illegal measures when questioning terrorism suspects.

President Obama signed a bill yesterday authorizing sanctions against Venezuelan officials accused of violating the rights of protesters in the South American country earlier this year.

The gradual easing of commercial, economic and social sanctions can only send the right signals to Cuba and the rest of Latin America—that change is on the way.

Cuba released 65-year-old former U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) contractor Alan Gross from prison today on humanitarian grounds, paving the way for normalizing relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

The Senate report unequivocally condemns the CIA’s behavior at the height of post-9/11 hysteria.  In so doing, it is fair to say that the Senate report is also a clear indictment of the Bush-Cheney administration, which used dubious legal opinions about the use of torture to look the other way.

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