Just back from Cuba: Pewaukee student says, "Today is a day I was not expecting for many years to come"

PEWAUKEE (WITI) -- For a college student from Pewaukee, the possibility of normalizing relations between the U.S. and Cuba is especially surprising. He just returned home after a visit to Havana -- and part of his unexpected itinerary was coming face-to-face with a man once held prisoner by the U.S. government.

Chris Harms has been back home for a little more than a week. He showed to FOX6 News some of the items collected from a journey around the world following a semester at sea. One of the last stops for Harms -- Cuba.

"Today is a day I was not expecting for many years to come. Let me tell you," said Harms.

It was just two weeks ago that Harms was bombarded with information about three prisoners still being held by the American government.

"As soon as I stepped foot off our cruise ship in Havanna, we were surrounded by materials that were related to the Cuban five," said Harms.

From posters to lectures, Cubans wanted to tell their side of the story of the Cuban intelligence agents. Harms did not know he would get to meet one of the men once held.

"For all of us it was so surreal that two weeks ago all of us were there, we were able to meet one of the prisoners at the University of Havana," said Harms.

Harms was not the only one surprised. Art Heitzer runs the Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba. For 20 years, he's worked towards easing restrictions.

"They are really poor, but they are wonderful people.  Let's stop trying to crush them.  And most people don't even realize that has been our policy for the last 50 years," said Heitzer.

Not all are happy with Wednesday's news. Gov. Scott Walker calls easing restrictions a "bad idea."