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Bravo to President Barack Obama for undertaking the normalization of relations with Cuba ("Cuba releases Alan Gross; White House announces plans to re-establish diplomatic relations with Havana," Dec. 17).

I've often wondered why we have diplomatic recognition with China and Vietnam but not Cuba. We lost more lives fighting those two countries then we lost in any other Cold War conflict.

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We were never at war with Cuba. And we don't have the right to demand that any country share the democratic ideals we hold dear.

China owns us lock, stock and barrel. We can travel and trade with both China and Vietnam, yet we never disallowed trade or imposed sanctions to make them change their political beliefs.

This president, who is hated by the tea party and conservative Republicans, has accomplished more in his time in office than most, and he's been determined to clean up the mistakes of his predecessor. He got rid of Osama bin Laden and is trying to end the war in Afghanistan, the longest in our history, which he did not start.

He believed citizens deserved proper health care and fought to get it implemented. Now he doing what no other president in the past 50 years was willing to do — normalize diplomatic relations with a small island only 90 miles from our border. Well done, President Obama.

Lois Raimondi Munchel, Forest Hill

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