Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinLawmakers introduce bill taxing e-cigarettes to pay for anti-vaping campaigns Senators zero in on shadowy court at center of IG report Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial MORE (D-Ill.) called on the United States to lift its travel and trade embargo against Cuba.

“Opening the door with Cuba for trade, travel, and the exchange of ideas will create a force for positive change in Cuba that more than 50 years of our current policy of exclusion could not achieve,” Durbin said Wednesday.

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The senator’s remarks came after Cuba released U.S. prisoner Alan Gross, a government worker jailed for five years in Cuba by the Castro regime.

“I’m overjoyed to welcome Alan Gross home after five long years in a Cuban prison,” Durbin said. “Alan’s supposed crime was that he provided Cuba’s small Jewish community with computer equipment to help them access the Internet. I have pressed the Cuban government for years to release him.”

President Obama is expected to hold a press conference at noon and, according to Durbin, the president could announce the “normalization” of trade and travel with Cuba.

Durbin argued that the more than 50-year trade embargo against Cuba hasn’t crippled Fidel Castro’s communist regime as designed and has only hurt the Cuban people. But other senators, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), say that lifting the trade ban would send a message that the United States condones communism.