Saying it was time to "begin a new chapter among the nations of the Americas," President Obama on Wednesday announced that the U.S. and Cuba would move to fully restore relations between the two nations.
"Neither the American nor Cuban people are well served by a rigid policy rooted in events that took place before most of us were born," Obama said. "These 50 years have shown that isolation does not work," Obama said.
The landmark policy shift, which comes on the heels of the release of American citizen Alan Gross from prison in exchange for three Cuban spies, will involve expanding travel to and from Cuba, loosening trade restrictions, restoring diplomatic ties, and establishing a U.S. embassy in Havana. Obama said Secretary of State John Kerry would soon begin negotiations with his Cuban counterparts to bring an "outdated approach" into the 21st century.