US President Barack Obama has announced moves to normalise diplomatic and economic ties with Cuba following release of Alan Gross, an American citizen imprisoned in Cuba.
According to the BBC, the President said the plans represented the “most significant changes in US policy towards Cuba in 50 years”.
The US is looking to open an embassy in Havana in the coming months, he said.
Three Cubans jailed in Florida for spying were also released.
Mr Gross arrived at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington from Cuba on Wednesday. Footage showed him disembarking from a US government plane onto the tarmac where he was met by a crowd.
He spent the last five years in a Cuban jail after being accused of subversion, for trying to bring internet services to communities in Cuba.
He was freed on humanitarian grounds.
His arrest and imprisonment had undermined attempts to thaw diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The US president announced measures that he said would end an “outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests”.
The plans set out in a White House statement also includes:
• Reviewing the designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism
• Easing a travel ban for US citizens
• Easing financial restrictions
• Increasing telecommunications links
• Efforts to lift the 54-year-old trade embargo