“These 50 years have shown that isolation does not work. It’s time to try a new approach.” And with that, President Obama announced plans to begin the process of normalizing relations with Cuba. The statement came just after Cuba released American Alan Gross, “who was convicted of illegally bringing communications equipment to the island nation as a U.S. government contractor and was imprisoned there for five years.” The two countries have been locked in a stalemate for more than five decades. (I really hope Fredo doesn’t screw this up.)

+ CNN: Cuba fast facts and a timeline of its relations with the U.S.

+ How Canada and the Pope made this happen, the most important sentence in Obama’s statement, and more in this Vox guide to what you need to know.

+ Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic: Good riddance to a ridiculous Cuba policy.

+ John Boehner called the move another in a “long line of mindless concessions to a dictatorship.” Buzzfeed is covering the latest developments and reactions. (For a split second this morning, Cuba Gooding Jr. thought he was trending.)

+ So can we light up some Cuban stogies and celebrate? Close, but no cigar.