A car drives past the building of the the U.S. diplomatic mission in Cuba. (Desmond Boylan/Reuters)

After five years in Cuban custody, American contractor Alan Gross has been freed in a surprise prisoner swap that also releases three Cubans and opens up the possibility of improved relations between the United States and Cuba. After decades of sanctions and a rift that outlived the Cold War, the shift could mark a significant moment in Western Hemisphere politics.

For Floridians, the news is personal — Twitter users in Florida shared their reactions to the unexpected development. Some tweeted thoughts for the Gross family, others discussed potential economic ramifications and predicted what ending five decades of standoff could mean for both countries’ political landscapes.