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Cuba prepares for Christmas with early gift from Obama

People wearing Santa Claus costumes give out leaflets promoting a restaurant in the streets of Havana, Cuba, on December 23, 2014Cubans prepared Wednesday to celebrate Christmas, a resurgent holiday banned for 38 years by the communist government, with an early gift from US President Barack Obama: a historic rapprochement. Across the island, houses, restaurants, supermarkets, hotels and state-run stores have put up Christmas decorations, embracing a holiday eliminated by Fidel Castro soon after he came to power in the Cuban Revolution in 1959 and declared Cuba an atheist state. “El Comandante” restored Christmas in 1998 after a landmark visit by pope John Paul II. “Christmas was a very deep-rooted tradition in Cuba.

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