Diplomats, business people flood Cuba amid warmer US ties

Diplomats, business people flood Cuba amid warmer US ties

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HAVANA (AP) — Tourists in shorts and sandals aren't the only foreigners flooding Havana these days.

Top diplomats from Japan, Europe and Russia have visited the island in recent months, bidding to stake out or maintain ties with an island that suddenly looks like a brighter economic prospect due to warming U.S.-Cuba relations.

On Sunday night, Francois Hollande becomes the first French president to ever visit communist Cuba. He's bringing along five ministers and two dozen business people, including the heads of Pernod-Ricard and grain exporter Soufflet.

Salim Lamrani is a Cuba expert at France's University of La Reunion. He says, "It's impossible to deny that diplomatic detente between Washington and Havana has accelerated the process of normalization between Cuba and Europe."

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