It was an extraordinary development that took the Americas and the world by complete surprise.
In Cuba, Havana ground to a halt as people in the capital gathered around television sets to watch President Raul Castro announce the historic decision to re-establish relations with the U.S.
Both countries cut diplomatic ties in 1961. After five decades of enduring an acrimonious and tumultuous relationship, the mood in the island nation was festive. “This doesn’t mean that the main issues have been resolved” warned Castro, “the embargo, which has caused enormous human and economic damage to our country, needs to end.”
The declaration followed a prisoner swap, with the U.S. agreeing to release the last three members of the Cuban 5, a group of double agents that infiltrated anti-Castro groups from the Cuban expat community in Miami in the 1990’s and are considered national heroes. In return, Cuba freed imprisoned US contractor Alan Gross and an intelligence agent.
Correspondent Michael Voss reports on this stunning historic shift from Havana.