On Thursday, Cuban and US diplomats conducted their highest level talks since Cuba's communist revolution. Now, expectations are high for full diplomatic relations to be restored.
The recent warming of US-Cuban relations and the fall in international oil prices raise the question of whether Venezuela can put national interests ahead of ideology.
The historic opening between the two countries could have an impact on travel and business in the long-term, though changes are likely to happen gradually.
Cuba had relied on Venezuela to prop up its economy. But with that support uncertain, the Castro brothers appear to have decided to come in from the cold.
Former President Mujica, an ex-guerrilla who was once tortured in jail, agreed to take the prisoners earlier this year. He said he was doing it 'for humanity.'