Polls show a majority of Americans support Obama's efforts to improve ties. But the island is still subject to a US trade embargo put in place in 1962.There is fierce opposition to lifting the embargo from Republican lawmakers.
In the meantime, other vestiges of ideological animosity are rapidly receding into history.Travel and communications restrictions between the two countries have been significantly eased. An American orchestra has toured Cuba for the first time in decades, and Airbnb has even established a foothold on the Communist Party-ruled Caribbean Island.
The White House has said that a presidential visit is possible before Obama leaves office in 2017.