WASHINGTON– In a truly historic announcement made by Pres. Barack Obama, the United States and Cuba have agreed to talks on normalizing diplomatic ties for the first time since 1961.

The move which will allow the U.S. to resume economic ties with Havana, lifts travel restrictions and allows Americans to use credit cards, comes on the heels of a deal for the release on humanitarian grounds of 65-year-old American prisoner Alan Gross.

Gross, who was accused of spying by Cuban officials, was released in exchange for three Cubans–rumored to be part of the “Cuban Five”–who were jailed in Florida for espionage.

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