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    The Miami Beach Police Department is asking the public for help in raising funds for a sick teenager's medical expenses.

    Dwayne Mitchell, who is the son of Miami Beach Police Detective Christopher Mitchell, was found unresponsive by his grandmother on May 16.

    According to a post on his family's GoFundMe page, Dwayne's older brother performed CPR until Miami-Dade Fire Rescue arrived and took him to Jackson Memorial Hospital.

    Doctors told Dwayne's family that the teen went into cardiac arrest after contracting a viral infection. They also determined that Dwayne had the heart disease, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.

    Dwyane suffered a large amount of swelling to his brain, but the family is hopeful that he will recover.

    In an update to the GoFundMe post, the family stated, "Dwyane's medical procedure went extremely well. Doctors were successful in correcting two areas that were causing the arrhythmia attacks. Dwyane is back at Promise Hospital and remains in a coma. Dwyane continues to show signs of improvement. Please continue to keep Dwyane in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you for your support and donations."

    Click here to donate to the Mitchell family for Dwyane's medical expenses.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    A man was arrested and charged with second-degree murder Monday in the stabbing death of his mother.

    According to the Miami-Dade Police Department, Francis Roig, 50, went into his mother's room at their home at 13200 SW 53rd St. at about 2 a.m. Monday and began stabbing her multiple times before leaving.

    Police said when they arrived at the home, they found the bloody body of Georgina Roig, 79, on the front porch.

    Officers began searching for Georgina Roig's vehicle, a four-door Toyota, which was missing from the home, according to MDPD.

    Police said an officer attempted to make a traffic stop on the car at Southwest 24th Street and 79th Avenue, but the driver continued to the area of Southwest 27th Avenue and 25th Terrace, where Francis Roig got out and ran.

    Police caught him and took him to the MDPD Homicide Bureau.

    According to police, Francis Roig admitted to stabbing his mother because he was angry at her for telling him what to do and to get a job.

    In addition to second-degree murder, Francis Roig is charged with assaulting a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest without violence, and fleeing and eluding police.

    Anyone with any information on the stabbing is asked to contact CrimeStoppers at 305-471-8477.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    A storm strike has people cleaning up in South Florida after strong winds tore trees right from the ground.


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    There's a great deal of history that fills the hallways of Tel-Air Interest in Hollywood. For decades, the production house has produced the Miss Florida USA Pageant, and come next month, it will do so again, only this time under a cloud of uncertainty.

    Grant Gravitt has spent months getting the show ready. However, the controversy surrounding the pageant's owner, Donald Trump, could undo all of his work.

    "Nobody is going to stand by what was said," Gravitt said. "What happens when the home office goes astray? We're paying for the sins of the father. This is nothing we believe in, this nothing we endorse."

    Pageant organizers aren't sure who will host the event, or if it'll be shown on TV July 11, after the back-and-forth between Trump, Univision and now NBC over The Donald's controversial comments over Mexicans. It now has left everyone in the pageant world treading water.

    "I could see NBC coming out politically, because maybe its good for them. But I could see them coming out politically with a weak stance," Gravitt said.

    Early Monday, NBC-Universal said it would not broadcast the Miss Universe Pageant, as well as the Miss USA Pageant taking place next month.

    "At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values," the company said in a statement. "Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBC-Universal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump."

    "There is certainly a lot of collateral damage over what is going on right now," Gravitt said.

    Miss Miami Beach Jessica Corpancho said the comments alone were offensive, but now the fallout is punishing them even more.

    "The most important thing are the girls competing and the efforts that I've put into the competition," Corpancho said. "What I'm really looking forward to is putting on a great performance, and I think all the other girls feel the same way as well."

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    One man is dead and another is in critical condition after being shot Monday evening at an apartment complex off Southwest 41st Street.

    Police said several cars, apartment windows and walls were struck during the shooting, which took place at about 6 p.m.

    One of the men was taken to Aventura Hospital and the other was taken to Jackson Ryder Hospital.

    Several people of interest are in custody and several witnesses are being questioned.

    Residents said they feel lucky to be alive after the bullets flew into their units and cars.

    Police continue investigating.

    No other details were immediately released.

    Watch Local 10 News and refresh Local10.com for updates on this developing story.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    Police said four young people were shot in Opa-Locka Monday night, the youngest between the ages of 12 and 14 years old.

    David Chiverton, the Opa-Locka city manager, said the oldest victim is 18, but that person's conditions is unknown.

    One victim drove himself to the hospital, according to police, and the other three were taken to Jackson Memorial.

    The shootings happened in the area of Northwest 135th Street and Northwest 30th Avenue, prompting the response of Miami-Dade, Miami-Dade Schools, Hialeah and Opa-Locka police.

    Authorities said there were several scenes and the shooter, or shooters, remain at large.

    One victim ran to a Kwik-Stop nearby for help after the shootings.

    Police said they are still investigating and speaking with numerous witnesses.


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  • 06/30/15--16:00: Pets available for adoption
  • Busybone is waiting at the Humane Society of Broward County, along with all the other fabulous friends in this slideshow looking for a family to call their own.


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    Financial advisers encourage engaged same-sex couples to discuss their short-term and long-term financial plans. Arguments over money continue to be among the leading causes of divorce for straight couples.

    If you are almost always worried about money and have credit card debt, below is a list of some of the issues you and your partner should be discussing.

     FILING TAXES

    "A high-net worth couple may see their taxes rise when they file their taxes jointly, if their combined income pushes them into a higher tax bracket," said Richard Ehrlich, of the Secure Wealth Planning Group in Boca Raton.

    "You pay more per person in taxes as a married person than you did when you were single, especially if you are a higher earner," Davis janowski, of WealthFront, said.

    If "the combined income is under $110,000, the couple can decide to have a kid and claim $1,000 per child to lower their taxes even further," Sam Dogen, of Financial Samurai, said.

    The 33 percent marriage bracket structure hits married couples at an income of $226,850, according to The IRS.

    Couples can only claim one homestead property tax exemption.

    Gifting among spouses is unlimited and there are no state or federal taxes.

    HEALTH BENEFITS

    "Married same-sex couples will become eligible for benefits like health insurance through their partner’s employer, as long as they offer spousal coverage," Ehrlich said.

    RETIREMENT

    "Review your current plan and update the  beneficiaries for all of your financial accounts." Ehrich said. "Your  401(k)s, IRAs, and insurance should all be looked at to ensure your benefits are in line with your wishes for the future."

    SOCIAL SECURITY

    "If a spouse passes away and has a larger Social Security benefit, the survivor is entitled to that. Same-sex couples can also receive a one-time payment of $255 that the Social Security Administration gives to surviving spouses to help with expenses like burials," Ehrlich said.

    "The only financial reason to get married is to prevent the government from stealing from you if you die before you start collecting Social Security," Dogen said.

    STUDENT AID

    A marriage can result in families losing student financial aid, Mark Kantrowitz, of Edvisors Network, said during an interview with The New York Times. If the parent gets married, the student could lose $3,000 in aid for every $10,000 of annual income that the new stepparent brings to the household.

    For married couples who file their income taxes jointly, loan payments would be calculated on their joint income. Loan payments for married couples filing separately would be based on the individual borrower's income, according to Student Debt Crisis.

    MILITARY BENEFITS

    The surviving spouse of someone in the military may have to consider the possibility of losing military benefits when getting remarried. According to The U.S. military, if remarriage occurs before age 55, the annuity is suspended and can be reinstated if the remarriage ends by death or divorce. If remarriage occurs at age 55 or older, the annuity continues uninterrupted for the duration of the spouse's life.

     WEDDING PARTY

    In average couples spent about $31,000 on their weddings last year, according to The Knot experts. The Wedding Report data placed the average cost of a wedding in Florida at about $24,250. If you are spending more, try to reevaluate your budget.

    INVESTMENT STRATEGY

    Alex Popovich, of JP Morgan Private Bank, said during a U.S. News interview, that when new couples pool resources they have more opportunities. Joint ownership can also protect couples from creditors, Popovich said.

    DEBT

    Partners debts and bad credit history are part of the married couple's economic relationship. Develop a plan to reduce debt.


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    President Barack Obama will announce Wednesday that the U.S. and Cuba have finalized an agreement to reopen embassies in each other's capitals, a major step in ending hostilities between the Cold War foes, a senior administration official said.

    The U.S. and Cuba have been negotiating the reestablishment of embassies following the historic December announcement that they would move to restore ties after a half-century of animosity. The U.S. embassy in Havana is expected to open in July.

    For Obama, ending the U.S. freeze with Cuba is central to his foreign policy legacy as he nears the end of his presidency. Obama has long touted the value of direct engagement with global foes and has argued that the U.S. embargo on the communist island just 90 miles south of Florida was ineffective.

    The official insisted on anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter ahead of the president.

    The White House said Obama will deliver a statement on Cuba from the Rose Garden on Wednesday morning. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is in Vienna for nuclear negotiations with Iran, is also expected to speak about the embassy openings.

    Kerry has said previously that he would travel to Cuba for an embassy opening.

    Cuba's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday evening that it would meet with U.S. Interests Section chief Jeffrey DeLaurentis on Wednesday morning to receive a message from President Obama about reopening embassies.

    The U.S. cut off diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961 after Fidel Castro's revolution. The U.S. spent decades trying to either actively overthrow the Cuban government or isolate the island, including toughening the economic embargo first imposed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

    Since the late 1970s, the United States and Cuba have operated diplomatic missions called interests sections in each other's capitals. The missions are technically under the protection of Switzerland, and do not enjoy the same status as full embassies.

    While the opening of embassies marks a major milestone in the thaw between the U.S. and Cuba, significant issues remain as the countries look to normalize relations. Among them: talks on human rights; demands for compensation for confiscated American properties in Havana and damages to Cuba from the embargo; and possible cooperation on law enforcement, including the touchy topic of U.S. fugitives sheltering in Havana.

    Obama also wants Congress to repeal the economic embargo on Cuba, though he faces resistance from Republicans and some Democrats. Those opposed to normalizing relations with Cuba say Obama is prematurely rewarding a regime that engages in serious human rights abuses.

    The president also will face strong opposition in Congress to spending any taxpayer dollars on building or refurbishing an embassy in Havana. Congress would have to approve any administration request to spend money on an embassy.

    Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said in a statement that opening a U.S. embassy in Cuba "will do nothing to help the Cuban people and is just another trivial attempt for President Obama to go legacy shopping."

    Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the opening of embassies was part of the administration's "common sense approach to Cuba." However, he called for Cuba to recognize that it is out of step with the international community on human rights.

    "Arrests and detentions of dissidents must cease and genuine political pluralism is long overdue," Cardin said in a statement.

    Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro met in April during a regional summit, marking the first time U.S. and Cuban leaders have met in person since 1958.

    For Obama, the embassy announcements come amid what the White House sees as one of the strongest stretches of his second term. He scored major legislative and legal victories last week, with Congress giving him fast-track authority for an Asia-Pacific free trade deal and the Supreme Court upholding a key provision of his health care law.

    The court also ruled in favor of gay marriage nationwide, an outcome Obama supported.


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    Miami-Dade County commissioners passed an ordinance Tuesday that only requires police to issue citations for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

    The ordinance applies to those caught with less than 20 grams of marijuana.

    The violators would be issued a $100 fine or community service.

    "We have thousands and thousands of people brought into the criminal justice system for nonviolent misdemeanors that destroy their options for the future," Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman said when the ordinance was proposed earlier this month.

    Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine spoke in favor of the ordinance after a previous commission meeting.

    "We don't want marijuana smoking on the streets. That's still illegal," Levine told Local 10 News. "It's illegal to distribute or sell any marijuana or anything like that. But if someone's caught with under 20 grams, we don't want to ruin their lives."

    Commissioners voted 10-3 in favor of the ordinance Tuesday. The ordinance will go in effect in 10 days.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    A man who was shot in a dispute about his dog's attempt to defecate in a neighbor's yard has died, police said.

    Miami-Dade police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta said Tuesday that Jose Rey died from the injuries he suffered in the June 21 shooting. 

    New charges are now pending against the alleged gunman, Omar Rodriguez, 66.

    According to a police report, Rodriguez admitted to shooting Rey after they got into an argument when Rey's dog tried to defecate in Rodriguez's son's lawn. 

    Miami-Dade police told Local 10 News complaints about Rodriguez had brought officers to the neighborhood 90 times over the past five years.

    Rodriguez was originally charged with attempted second-degree murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He is being held without bond.

    Prosecutors are seeking a charge of first-degree murder, which must be presented before a grand jury.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    The Federal Bureau of Investigation in Miami is asking for the public's help in finding a man who was charged for allegedly running a marijuana grow house in Philadelphia.

    David Fallis, who regularly uses aliases or false names, was believed to be in Miramar as of Friday, the FBI said.

    In 2007, U.S. attorneys announced Fallis was indicted on charges of endangering human life while manufacturing a controlled substance (marijuana).

    The indictment charged Fallis and his co-defendant, Saji Ravindran, with running a marijuana grow house at the Dockside Luxury Apartments in Philadelphia between August and December 2006.

    "The charge of endangering human life is being brought in this case because of the potential dangers involved," U.S. attorney Patrick L. Meehan said in 2007. "In addition to being illegal, this was a hazardous situation exacerbated by the proximity of other residents to the grow house."

    Investigators believe Fallis could have access to a firearm and should be considered armed and dangerous, the FBI said.

    Fallis is described by the FBI as 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 210 pounds.

    Anyone who has information about Fallis' whereabouts is asked to call the FBI at 754-703-2000 or Crime Stoppers.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    A Tamarac man fatally shot his wife in the head while she was sleeping early Tuesday morning, a Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said.

    The shooting occurred just before 6:40 a.m. Tuesday at 5720 Tuscany Terrace.

    BSO spokeswoman Gina Carter said Jason Browdy, 35, told deputies that he accidentally shot his wife in the head while she slept in their bed.

    ALSO: Man to 911 dispatcher: 'I killed my girlfriend'

    Monique Browdy, 33, was taken to Broward Health Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead Tuesday afternoon.

    Carter said detectives are questioning Jason Browdy about the shooting.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    Members in the community joined city and religious leaders along with law enforcement Tuesday night to try to bridge the gap between police and all those they serve. One major focus was police-involved shootings.


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    Fire officials seized illegal fireworks with a street value of $1 million Tuesday, authorities said.

    It happened at Sky King Fireworks at 17401 Northwest Second Ave. in Miami Gardens.

    Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said it received an anonymous tip that led authorities to a space in the back of a warehouse.

    Local 10 News has learned the fireworks that were seized vary, but all of them "shoot" and "explode," which is illegal in Miami-Dade. The fireworks are illegal to sell in the county, but not possess.

    No arrests were made. Workers claimed not to know who the owner of the place is.

    Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said fire inspectors and state fire marshals will confiscate the illegal fireworks.

    Follow Carlos Suarez on Twitter @CarlosWPLG

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    Panera Bread has launched an internal investigation after a customer claims to have found what appears to be a razor blade at the bottom of her soup.

    Wyteeshia McRoberts said she picked up lunch for herself and some co-workers at a Panera Bread on Campbell Drive and the Florida's Turnpike in Homestead.

    She said she took the food back to work.

    "I ordered a lemon orzo and a Greek Mediterranean salad. I start eating the soup," McRoberts said.

    She said as she got to the bottom of the bowl , her spoon got caught on something.

    "I tried to scrape the bottom and I hear this sound and the spoon is not moving. I looked down and I saw something shiny," she said.

    McRoberts said what she saw at the bottom appeared to be a razor blade.

    "I go and run straight to my coworkers and say look at this!" she said.

    Local 10 News spoke to a co-worker who was with McRoberts and confirms her account of the story.

    "She was very very scared," said Elizabeth Flores. 

    Fearing  there could have been another blade in the soup that she already swallowed, McRoberts said she went to the doctor.

    The doctor's visit included blood work and a tetanus shot.

    McRoberts said she returned the soup to the store and said the manager filled out an incident report.

    She said she did receive an apology and refund.

    McRoberts said Panera Bread Corporate Risk Management offered to pay medical bills.

    "I don't want you to throw money at me. Thank you for trying to pay my medical bills and giving me a gift card, but I really want to know what they are doing to make sure this never happens again," she said.

    In a statement to Local 10 News, Panera bread said, "Earlier this week, a guest in one of our South Florida bakery-cafes reported finding a foreign object in her soup. We immediately responded and began an investigation to determine its source. The investigation is still in progress and we remain in close consultation with the guest and associates at the bakery-cafe. As always, the health and safety of our guests is of utmost importance.

    Reports like this are exceedingly rare, and we take them very seriously. Our bakery-cafe associates undergo consistent training to safely and efficiently serve more than 10 million guests per week. Our investigation is still underway. We use several tools with sharp edges for cutting, slicing and opening food in our bakery-cafes. The object in question has not yet been returned to Panera to be accurately inspected and identified."

    McRoberts said the soup with the object was returned to the store and given to the manager.

    "That could have been someone's child, that could have been my child," McRoberts said. "That could have been anyone that could have gotten hurt. Thank God I didn't, because I looked down."

    Follow Jeff Weinsier on Twitter@jweinsier

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter@WPLGLocal10


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    A woman and a dog were pulled from a car that crashed into a canal in western Broward County.

    Davie Fire Rescue, Davie police and the Broward Sheriff's Office responded to a call at 5:40 p.m. Tuesday.

    Sky 10 was above the scene at Griffin Road just west of Interstate 75 as a group of bystanders and authorities gathered near the water.

    Witnesses told police a small Lexus SUV was traveling west on Griffin Road near Bonaventure Boulevard at a normal speed when it clipped a few signs and for some unknown reason veered off the road and went into a canal.

    Officers said the canal is relatively deep.

    Investigators told Local 10 News four good Samaritans saw what happened and jumped into the water, but were unable to retrieve the driver. A Davie police officer responded and jumped in.

    Davie and BSO divers also responded and were able to extract a 53-year-old woman. Police said the car was filling with water and was nearly full with the woman trapped inside.

    Police said the woman was airlifted to Broward Health in critical condition. Her husband was at the hospital with her Tuesday night.

    A small dog was also found in the car. A Davie Fire Rescue representative said the dog was pronounced dead at the scene. Family members and friends took the dog.

    Watch Local 10 News or refresh this page for updates.

    Follow Andrew Perez on Twitter @PerezLocal10

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    Find registered sex offenders in your neighborhood.


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    After the U.S. agreed to allowing Cuba to open an embassy in Washington, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday that he will be opposing the next step.

    Congress must approve of President Barack Obama's official envoy nomination. And the Cuban-American has been in opposition of Obama's effort to restore relations since the Dec. 17 announcement.

    Rubio is vying to become the Republican's next presidential candidate. He warns  that through the negotiations, the Castro brothers' regime has stepped up its repression of the Cuban people. And Obama, he said, continues to look the other way.

    Rubio, 44, believes that before U.S.-Cuba relations are normalized, the U.S. needs to secure "greater political freedoms for the Cuban people."

    Rubio said the Cuban government needs to settle outstanding legal claims to U.S. citizens for the properties the regime confiscated.  U.S. diplomats need to be allowed to travel freely throughout Cuba and meet with any dissidents, Rubio said.

    Despite his background, as the son of Cubans who moved to the U.S. during the ruling of Fulgencio Batista, Rubio has become the voice of Cubans who despise Fidel Castro.

    "It is time for our unilateral concessions to this odious regime to end," Rubio said Wednesday.

    RELATIONS WITH CUBA

    Rubio said he will continue to oppose any political reforms related to Cuba unless the following issues are addressed:

    - Concrete results on political reforms and human rights.

    - The repatriation of U.S. terrorists and fugitives being harbored in Cuba.

    -  Resolving uncompensated property claims.

    - The removal of restrictions on U.S. diplomats in Cuba.

    RUBIO'S STATEMENTS

    - "This president has proven today that his foreign policy is more than just naive, it is willfully ignorant of the way the world truly works."

    - "What these changes are going to do is, they will tighten this regime's grip on power for decades to come."

    - "This Congress is not going to lift the embargo."

    - "I anticipate I will be the chairman of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of [the] Foreign Relations [Committee], and I anticipate we are going to have a very interesting couple of years discussing how you’re going to get an ambassador nominated and how you’re going to get an embassy funded."

    CUBAN HERITAGE Rubio's Cuban parents -- Mario and Oriales Rubio -- arrived years before the 1959 revolution. Rubio's parents became residents May 1956, when Castro was reportedly in Mexico. They also visited Cuba in 1961, after the Communist revolution. Rubio's parents became U.S. citizens about four years after he was born in Miami. Some of the jobs his parents had in South Florida, after leaving Havana's Calle Maloja neighborhood, included working as a maid in a hotel and as a bartender. His father died September 2010.

    POLITICAL BACKGROUND Rubio attended Tarko College and Santa Fe Community College before graduating from the University of Florida and the University of Miami Law School.  After serving as the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, he moved on to become a U.S. Senator. Rubio is now know as the Tea Party's "crown prince." He announced that he was running for the presidential nomination at Miami's Freedom Tower. The iconic building near the Port of Miami was where the U.S. government processed about 450,000 Cuban arrivals during the 60s and 70s.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that the U.S. and Cuba will reopen their embassies in Havana and Washington, heralding a "new chapter" in relations after a half-century of hostility.

    "We don't have to be imprisoned by the past," Obama said from the White House Rose Garden. "Americans and Cubans alike are ready to move forward."

    Cuban television broadcast Obama's statement live, underscoring the new spirit. A state television anchor read a letter from Cuban President Raul Castro to Obama in which he wrote that Cuba is "encouraged by the reciprocal intention to develop respectful relations and cooperation between our people and governments."

    The embassy agreement marks the biggest tangible step toward normalizing relations since the surprise announcement in December that the U.S. and Cuba were restarting diplomatic ties. The posts in Washington and Havana are scheduled to open July 20, Cuba's Foreign Ministry said.

    Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Cuba for the opening of the U.S. Embassy. Kerry, who is in Vienna for nuclear talks with Iran, called the embassy agreement "long overdue."

    For Obama, ending the U.S. freeze with Cuba is central to his foreign policy legacy as he nears the end of his presidency. Obama has long touted the value of direct engagement with global foes and has argued that the U.S. economic embargo on the communist island just 90 miles south of Florida was ineffective.

    Amid the celebratory rhetoric, there were words of caution from both countries.

    Video: South Floridians react to US, Cuba opening embassies

    A statement from the Cuban government said reopening embassies was just the first step in "a long and complex process toward normalization of bilateral ties." It demanded an end to the U.S. embargo, the return of the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo and a halt to U.S. radio and TV broadcasts aimed at the island.

    Erasing the last trace of hostility toward Cuba went down like coffee on an empty stomach. A slap in the face to the older, still outspoken generation of Cuban exiles whose reproach on the issue is unwavering.

    "This is betrayal not to the people of Cuba, but the people of the United States because this country is made up on the idea of liberty for all," said Cuban exile Leon Rozio.

    At Versailles Restaurant, the tides of change toward Cuba have long crashed at the counter where cafecitos are served and the debate has remained the same for decades.

    "Is the embargo next? He's going to try," Rozio said. "The thing is what are the politicians going to do?"

    Hours earlier, a lonely voice of opposition held signs that read "A U.S. embassy in Havana is infamy." Across town at the University of Miami gathered a group of pro-democracy supporters who feel nothing has changed in Cuba since the relations reset began last fall.

    "They're dealing with a totalitarian regime, which has a very brutal interpretation of power," said Orlando Gutierrez Boronat, of the Assembly of Cuban Resistance.

    The political game now shifts toward the funding of a U.S. embassy and the eventual nomination of a U.S. ambassador.

    Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said in a statement that opening a U.S. Embassy in Cuba "will do nothing to help the Cuban people and is just another trivial attempt for President Obama to go legacy shopping."

    "He talks about progress. What progress?" Ros-Lehtinen said. "(Obama said) that we are imprisoned by the past. Well, the ones who are imprisoned literally are the people of Cuba."

    She was also critical of the president's perceived blind eye to recent arrests in Cuba.

    "He just throws out a little line there about freedom of speech and we're not going to be overlooking it," Ros-Lehtinen said. "Really? Why doesn't he say something about the almost 200 arrests that took place this Sunday?"

    Obama reiterated his call for Congress to lift the embargo, which he said has failed to bring political change in Cuba. However, he faces stiff resistance from Republicans, as well as some Democrats, who said he is prematurely rewarding a government that engages in serious human rights abuses.

    The president also will face strong opposition in Congress to spending any taxpayer dollars for building or refurbishing an embassy in Havana. Congress would have to approve any administration request to spend money on an embassy.

    The Republican-led House Appropriations Committee voted last month to curb Obama administration efforts to work on an embassy in Cuba.

    A $48 billion foreign aid bill for next year bars any work on an American embassy there unless Obama certifies that Havana is meeting the terms of a 1996 law aimed at pushing the island nation's government toward democracy. That law's conditions include Cuba's extradition of people who are accused of crimes in the U.S.

    The U.S. cut off diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961 after Fidel Castro's revolution. The U.S. spent decades trying to either actively overthrow the Cuban government or isolate the island, including toughening the economic embargo first imposed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

    Since the late 1970s, the United States and Cuba have operated diplomatic missions called interests sections in each other's capitals. The missions are technically under the protection of Switzerland and do not enjoy the same status as embassies.

    Ahead of Obama's remarks, the top U.S. diplomat in Havana delivered a letter from the White House to Cuba about restoring embassies in the countries' respective capitals. U.S. Interests Section chief Jeffrey DeLaurentis arrived at the Cuban Foreign Ministry in Havana on Wednesday morning to hand-deliver the message.

    Cuban exile community has mixed feelings about embassies

    In a highly unusual move, Cuban state television broadcast Obama's remarks live with translation in Spanish.

    Cuban-Americans living in South Florida had mixed opinions about the announcement.

    "I know a lot of people that came here, and they're my age, and they're hoping that this actually works out," Kaylin Canton told Local 10 News.

    video

    Others doubted what positive changes this move could bring to the Cuban people.

    "The question here remains, what is going to happen to the Cuban people?" Ramon Saul Sanchez of the Democracy Movement said. "The Cuban regime is willing to talk to the United States, its sworn enemy, but it's not willing to talk to the Cuban people. It's not willing to hear the opposition and the things they have to say to bring Cuba out of the crisis it's in right now. Just this weekend, they beat up Cuban ladies and Cuban activists that were heading to a church to pray for the freedom of Cuba, and they will continue to do so."

    While the opening of embassies marks a major milestone in the thaw between the U.S. and Cuba, significant issues remain as the countries look to normalize relations. Among them: talks on human rights; demands for compensation for confiscated American properties in Havana and damages to Cuba from the embargo; and possible cooperation on law enforcement, including the touchy topic of U.S. fugitives sheltering in Havana.

    For Obama, the embassy announcements come amid what the White House sees as one of the strongest stretches of his second term. He scored major legislative and legal victories last week, with Congress giving him fast-track authority for an Asia-Pacific free trade deal and the Supreme Court upholding a key provision of his health care law.

    The court also ruled in favor of gay marriage nationwide, an outcome Obama supported.

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