- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says restoring diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba was long overdue.

The Illinois Democrat said during a news conference Wednesday that the 50-plus-year policy of isolation “didn’t work” and a new approach was needed that would benefit both nations.

He spoke just hours after American prisoner Alan Gross was freed, followed by President Barack Obama’s announcement that the two countries would restore diplomatic ties - a shift that could revitalize the flow of people and money between former foes.

Durbin says the efforts will “open up Cuba to the world,” including by establishing Internet communications, giving the Cuban people “an appetite for change.”

Durbin says he anticipates that detractors will file lawsuits claiming Obama’s actions are unconstitutional, but he believes the president will prevail.

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