Pope Francis will meet Patriarch Kirill in Cuba, in a historic step to heal the 1,000-year schism that has divided the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches. Andrew Medichini and Ivan Sekretarev/AP hide caption

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Cuban migrants prepare to board a flight from Costa Rice to El Salvador on Jan. 12. This was the first of up to 28 flights out of Costa Rica that will allow nearly 8,000 stranded Cubans to continue their journey to the United States. CARLOS GONZALEZ/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Passengers travel on one of the ferries that cut across Havana Bay from Casablanca to Old Havana in July 2015. While the Obama administration has approved licenses to companies that want to offer services to Miami, the plans are still controversial on both sides. Ramon Espinosa/AP hide caption

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A U.S. Coast Guard crew (foreground) with six Cubans who were picked up in the Florida Straits in May. A larger Coast Guard vessel is in the background. The number of Cubans trying to reach the U.S. has soared in the past year. Many Cubans believe it will be more difficult to enter the U.S. as relations improve, though U.S. officials say there will be no rule changes in the near term. Tony Winton/AP hide caption

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker (left)talks with students in Havana in October. Pritzker led a delegation of U.S. officials who met their Cuban counterparts and businessmen to explore expanding ties. While restrictions are being removed, increased business links between the countries are limited so far. Ramon Espinosa/AP hide caption

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Stonegate Bank's Pompano Beach, Fla., location, shown here, announced it is setting up a correspondent banking relationship with a Cuban financial institution. Greg Allen/NPR hide caption

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An American Airlines airplane prepares to land at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana on Sept. 19. Currently charter flights (including American Airlines charters) are the only way to fly between the two countries, but commercial flights are set to resume under a new aviation agreement. Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters/Landov hide caption

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More than 500 Cuban immigrants hoping to reach the United States live at this school turned shelter in northern Costa Rica after Nicaragua, a Cuban ally, closed its border to them. Carrie Kahn/NPR hide caption

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Mike Owen, park biologist at Fakahatchee Strand Preserve in Florida, documents an orchid growing on a cypress tree. Greg Allen/NPR hide caption

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker (in blue jacket), visits the container port at the Special Enterprise Zone in Mariel, Cuba, on Oct. 6. Cuba is creating the zone to encourage trade and foreign investment. Some foreign companies are eager to move in, though the Pritzker said Cuba's commitment to free trade was not year clear. Ramon Espinosa/AP hide caption

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People huddle in front of the Habana Libre hotel in Havana, trying to get on the Internet. Carrie Kahn/NPR hide caption

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Cuba's President Raul Castro (center) encourages Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos (left) and the commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC, known as Timochenko, to shake hands, in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday. Desmond Boylan/AP hide caption

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View of a banner with the portrait of Pope Francis flanked by images of legendary rebels Ernesto 'Che' Guevara (right) and Camilo Cienfuegos (left), in Havana, Cuba, on Friday. Pope Francis will spend more than three days in Cuba starting Saturday before traveling on to the U.S. Alejandro Ernesto/EPA/Landov hide caption

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The altar where Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in Revolution Square in Havana near a government building decorated with the likeness of revolutionary hero Ernesto "Che" Guevara. The Mass is scheduled for Sept. 20. Desmond Boylan/AP hide caption

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Crew members of the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Jason Dunham load supplies while docked in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, earlier this year. The U.S. and Cuba have restored diplomatic relations, but the U.S. says it remains committed to keeping the base. David Welna/NPR hide caption

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