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Ramon Espinosa, Associated Press
In this Dec. 17, 2014 photo, students and teachers celebrate after listening to a live, nationally broadcast speech by Cuba's President Raul Castro about the country's restoration of relations with the United States, at a school in Havana, Cuba. Castro said profound differences remain between Cuba and the U.S. in areas such as human rights, foreign policy and questions of sovereignty, but that the countries have to learn to live with their differences "in a civilized manner."

The United Stated and Cuba restored diplomatic relations after a break of more than five decades. Prisoners were exchanged, and Cubans on the island celebrated the surprise thaw.

In Haiti, demonstrators clashed with police in the streets of Port-au-Prince, demanding the resignation of Haiti's President Michel Martelly.

A Nicaraguan woman awaits news about her missing son in the Caribbean port of Puerto Cabezas, after a lobster fishing boat capsized with more than 50 people onboard.

Mexican relatives of 43 missing college students blocked the entrance to a military base to protest the army's alleged responsibility or failure to respond the night the young people disappeared.

 The national soccer championships ended in Mexico and Argentina after Racing became champion in Argentina by defeating Godoy. America was crowned in Mexico after defeating the Tigres.

 In Brazil, the national postal service organized a visit from Santa Claus as part of its campaign to respond to letters found in the mail from children addressed to St. Nick.

 Uruguay had its first cannabis expo, with stands selling seeds, marijuana growing technology, conferences and cultivation techniques workshops.

Associated Press photographers and photo editors on Twitter: http://apne.ws/15Oo6jo

This gallery was curated by photo editor Tomas Stargardter in Mexico City.