The end of Cuba’s long, isolating winter
After decades, the U.S. and Cuba announced a thaw in diplomatic relations. Here are 15 key reactions to the news.
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
“Today, America chooses to cut loose the shackles of the past, so as to reach for a better future.” —President Obama #CubaPolicy — The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 17, 2014
Reaction quickly followed…
Arguably most significant steps in Cuban-US relations since the fall of the Berlin wall. #AlanGross #Cuban5
— Will Grant (@will__grant) December 17, 2014
I never thought this day would come: U.S. and #Cuba seek to normalize relations in historic shift http://t.co/cizJd6r8MA — Gabriela Gonzalez (@GabrielaGS_) December 17, 2014
Wow. Can’t remember the last time there was a major US policy shift vis-a-vis Latin America. #cuba
— Missy Ryan (@missy_ryan) December 17, 2014
Con la normalización de relaciones, Obama pone fin a 54 años de bloqueo, embargo y planes fallidos contra el régimen de #Cuba. Ya era hora. — Felipe Sahagún (@sahagunfelipe) December 17, 2014
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
Harper predicts change will accelerate in #Cuba after agreement to talks with US. PM expects democratic elections in time. #cdnpoli — CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) December 17, 2014
There’s a Canadian connection.
Canada was principle venue for talks between Cuba and the US. Meetings were btw June 2013 and Nov 2014 #Cuba #cdnpoli
— Mercedes Stephenson (@CTVMercedes) December 17, 2014
Great day for those who believe in engagement as the most effective tool of diplomacy. Thanks to our diplomats for their work on #Cuba. — Paul Dewar (@PaulDewar) December 17, 2014
And without a doubt, there will be global implications.
Iranian officials who think Obama is desperate for a nuclear deal to secure his foreign policy legacy may now have to reconsider #Cuba
— Karim Sadjadpour (@ksadjadpour) December 17, 2014
Some lives were changed immediately.
Alan Gross. Back on U.S. soil. pic.twitter.com/Ut5jvdQGg2 — Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) December 17, 2014
Raul Castro speaking on TV in #Cuba. Audible cheers from my neighbours when he announced return of remaining three of Los Cinco.
— Stephen Wicary (@wicary) December 17, 2014
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