The freeze between Washington and Havana dates back to height of the Cold War, following the rise of Fidel Castro and his communist regime.
Since then, 10 U.S. presidents have shunned Cuba, but today President Barack Obama announced that Washington will restore full diplomatic relations with the island nation. The U.S. will open an embassy in Havana and will take other steps to bring the two countries closer together.
The breakthrough came after 18 months of secret negotiations for the release of Alan Gross, an American contractor imprisoned in Cuba for the past five years. Gross flew home Wednesday, and in return the U.S. sent three Cubans accused of spying back to Havana.
Paul W. Hare, former British Ambassador to Cuba and now a visiting lecturer in international relations at Boston University.
- "Obama said as these changes unfold, he will talk to Congress about lifting the embargo on Cuba. The U.S. severed diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961, shortly after Fidel Castro and his communist rebels ousted dictator Fulgencio Batista."
This segment aired on December 17, 2014.