After a half-century of enmity between the United States and Cuba, the two nations have agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations and economic trade.
Wednesday's historic announcement included the release of American prisoner Alan Gross along with the exchange of three Cubans jailed in America for a U.S. intelligence asset held in Cuba.
President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro spoke by phone on Tuesday for more than 45 minutes. It was the first time since 1961 that a presidential-level discussion has taken place between the two nations.
For more than a year, secret talks had taken place between U.S. and Cuban officials both in Canada and at the Vatican. The Pope wrote letters to both Obama and Castro inviting them to resolve their situation through humanitarian efforts.