As Cuba and the US embark on talks aimed at restoring diplomatic relations, ordinary Cubans tell ITV News what they think about the changes.Read the full story ›
President Obama has said that the shift in policy towards Cuba has the "potential to end a legacy of mistrust in our hemisphere".
"When what you’re doing doesn’t work for fifty years, it’s time to try something new," he said.
Cuba has completed the release of all 53 political prisoners it had promised the US it would free, Reuters have reported.
In a major step towards normalising relations with the United States, he release of the remaining detainees overcomes a big hurdle for historic talks aimed a reconciling the two nations.
There had been questions whether Havana would release all those it had pledged to free as part of the deal that Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro announced on 17 December to restore diplomatic ties, which Washington severed more than 50 years ago.
The White House welcomed Cuba's action as a milestone, but senior US officials said Washington would keep pressing Havana to free more people they consider political prisoners.
Cuban President Raul Castro has confirmed he will participate in the Washington-backed Summit of the Americas in Panama in April, potentially setting up his first meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama since the two countries agreed on Wednesday to re-establish diplomatic ties.
Thee Cuban intelligence agents have been given heroes' welcomes as they landed back in their homeland after 16 years in prison in the US.
The men were released as part of a prisoner swap between the two countries, which heralded the start of a major policy shift to normalise relations after more than 50 years of hostility.
Gerardo Hernandez, aged 49, Antonio Guerrero, 56, and 51-year-old Ramon Labañino were greeted by Cuban President Raul Castro and throngs of family, friends and fans as they disembarked at Jose Marti International Airport.
The men - together with two others already released - are jointly referred to as the 'Cuban Five', and are celebrated as anti-terrorist heroes for their work spying on extremist Cuban exile groups in Florida.
A prisoner exchange and the announcement of a re-established US embassy in Havana mark a momentous turn in US-Cuban relations.
But some in America are distinctly unhappy at President Obama's decision to reach out to the communist state.
ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore reports.
Two of the leading Republican voices on U.S. foreign policy have denounced President Barack Obama's plans to ease U.S. restrictions on Cuba.
Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham claimed the move showed "America and the values it stands for in retreat and decline."
"It is about the appeasement of autocratic dictators, thugs, and adversaries, diminishing America's influence in the world," the pair said in a statement.
Freed aid worker Alan Gross said on Wednesday he was "very happy" to hear about the thaw in relations between the US and Cuba.
Speaking to the media after his release from Cuba, he thanked U.S. President Barack Obama for all he had done to secure his release and said he did not blame the Cuban people for his ordeal.
"Two wrongs never make a right. I truly hope that we can all get beyond these mutually belligerent policies and I was very happy to hear what the president had to say today," Gross said.