Following 18 months of secret talks, the United States announced Wednesday that “decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed” and that the two countries would resume diplomatic relations — a historical moment for regional relations. The news broke shortly before midday as U.S. contractor Alan Gross, who had been held the last five years in a Cuban prison, landed in the U.S.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama announced a series of changes as part of the new policy, including the facilitation of remittances, expanded commercial activity, the easing of travel regulations and the release of three members of the Cuban 5.
For those trying to catch up on the flurry of news, commentary and analysis, here’s a summary, in 15 simple Tweets:
BREAKING: US officials: US to start talks with Cuba to normalize full diplomatic relations, open embassy.
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 17, 2014
Reaction quickly followed…
Who thinks collapse in oil prices the last two weeks-with the effects on Russia and Venezuela-may have forced Raul's change of heart?
— Christopher Sabatini (@ChrisSabatini) December 17, 2014
There’s a Canadian connection.
And without a doubt, there will be global implications.
Some lives were changed immediately.
And for others...only slightly.
American travellers to #Cuba will be allowed to bring back to USA $100 worth of cigars! expect this will be most popular of today's changes — Richard N. Haass (@RichardHaass) December 17, 2014
I teach US-LatAm Relations in the spring and some of those lectures need a bunch of revision now! — Greg Weeks (@GregWeeksUNCC) December 17, 2014