Calling it a new chapter with Cuba, President Obama is opening a door that's been closed since 1961 after Cuba's release of an imprisoned American.
FOX News Radio's Jared Halpern reports from the White House:
President Obama laying out a vision that includes a U.S. embassy in Havana and a half-century old trade restriction with Cuba lifted.
(President Obama) "Today America chooses to cut loose the shackles of the past so as to reach for a better future for the Cuban people, for the American people."
The sudden shift was actually months in the making, coming as American Alan Gross is freed from a Cuban prison after five years. He had been locked up after establishing internet service on the island.
Ahead of his release, a call yesterday between President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro... the first such dialogue between U.S. and Cuban leaders since 1961.
At the White House, Jared Halpern, FOX News Radio.
American Alan Gross arrived home just before President Obama announced the US is charting a new course with Cuba.
FOX News Radio's Rachel Sutherland reports from Capitol Hill:
Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, whose parents fled Cuba in the 1950s, calls today's annoucement from the President "profoundly disappointing".
(Rubio) "It is a victory for the oppressive Cuban government...but a serious setback for the repressed Cuban people."
The White House says Alan Gross was released on humanitarian grounds.
Democrat Senator Robert Menendez praised his return, but raised concerns that he was traded for convicted criminals.
At the Capitol, Rachel Sutherland, FOX News Radio.
LISTEN to special coverage of President Obama's statement on Cuba, as well as Senator Rubio's reaction:
The major shift in U.S. policy with Cuba has is getting a mixed reaction from Cuban-Americans in Florida.
FOX News Radio's Eben Brown has more from Miami:
Nobody here in Little Havana likes the Castros -- many here are in their elder years, they had property and businesses back in Cuba, confiscated by the regime. Some even had family imprisoned or brutalized. But there are some that say it's time for the U.S. to deal with Cuba -- just like they've dealt with other totalitarian nations.
(Local) "...You know... why they never broke relations with Russia?"
Or China for that matter, says Santiago. Others however still feel the U.S. is capitulating and violating its own foreign policy laws.
In Miami's Little Havana, Eben Brown, FOX News Radio.