The U.S. and Cuba formally reestablished diplomatic relations today. Among the American-based Cubans who have been paying close attention to the thawing between the two countries are the members of the musical group Tiempo Libre.

They first met as students at Cuba’s musical conservatory, Escuelas Nacionales de Arte, and when they reunited in Miami over 12 years ago, they made it their mission to bring the music and rhythms of Cuba to the world.

(This post was last updated at 10:45 a.m. ET.)

After 54 years of animosity, the United States and Cuba have formally restored diplomatic ties.

That means that the U.S. opened an embassy in Havana and Cuba opened an embassy in Washington, D.C., this morning.

After Thaw, Minnesota Orchestra Returns To Cuba

May 17, 2015

The Minnesota Orchestra plays Havana this weekend. It's the first professional U.S. orchestra to perform in Cuba since the United States and the island nation began the process of normalization last December. For the musicians, this trip is about healing — both diplomatically and for themselves.

Cuban leader Raul Castro, on a visit to the Vatican, where he thanked the pope for helping broker a thaw in relations between Havana and Washington, said he was so impressed with the pontiff that he might return to Catholicism, the faith he grew up in.

"I will resume praying and turn to the Church again if the Pope continues in this vein," Castro, the 83-year-old younger brother of Fidel, told reporters, adding, "I mean what I say."

Texas Businesses Stand Ready For Trade With Cuba

Apr 20, 2015

From Texas Standard:

Two years ago, the WestStar Food Company’s business with Cuba was good. Patrick Wallesen, the company’s president, says WestStar exported agricultural products through the port of Corpus Christi for more than a decade.

“We averaged about 5,000 metric tons a year of product. Primarily into beans, black beans, great northern beans,” Wallesen says.