US Cuba restore full diplomatic ties after 5 decades

first_imgWithout ceremony in the pre-dawn hours, maintenance workers were to hang the Cuban flag in the lobby of the State Department alongside those of other nations with which the U.S. has diplomatic relations. The historic shift will be publicly memorialized later Monday when Cuban officials formally inaugurate their embassy in Washington and Cuba’s blue, red and white-starred flag will fly for the first time since the countries severed ties in 1961. Secretary of State John Kerry will then meet his Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez, and address reporters at a joint news conference.The U.S. Interests Section in Havana plans to announce its upgrade to embassy status in a written statement on Monday, but the Stars and Stripes will not fly at the mission until Kerry visits in August for a ceremonial flag-raising.The Cuban Interests Section in Washington switched its Twitter account to say “embassy,” one of a series of similar changes being made to the two country’s social media accounts.Conrad Tribble, deputy chief of mission for the United States in Havana, tweeted: “Just made first phone call to State Dept. Ops Center from United States Embassy Havana ever. It didn’t exist in Jan 1961.” ___Orsi reported from Havana.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Declaring the long-standing policy a failure that had not achieved any of its intended results, Obama declared that the U.S. could not keep doing the same thing and expect a change. Thus, he said work would begin apace on normalization.That process dragged on until the U.S. removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism in late May and then bogged down over issues of U.S. diplomats’ access to ordinary Cubans.On July 1, however, the issues were resolved and the U.S. and Cuba exchanged diplomatic notes agreeing that the date for the restoration of full relations would be July 20.“It’s a historic moment,” said longtime Cuban diplomat and analyst Carlos Alzugaray.“The significance of opening the embassies is that trust and respect that you can see, both sides treating the other with trust and respect,” he said. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be conflicts — there are bound to be conflicts — but the way that you treat the conflict has completely changed.”Cuba’s ceremony at the stately 16th Street mansion in Washington that has been operating as an interests section under the auspices of the Swiss embassy will be attended by some 500 guests, including a 30-member delegation of diplomatic, cultural and other leaders from the Caribbean nation, headed by Foreign Minister Rodriguez. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies And yet, though normalization has taken center stage in the U.S.-Cuba relationship, there remains a deep ideological gulf between the nations and many issues still to resolve. Among them: thorny disputes such as over mutual claims for economic reparations, Havana’s insistence on the end of the 53-year-old trade embargo and U.S. calls for Cuba to improve on human rights and democracy. Some U.S. lawmakers, including several prominent Republican presidential candidates, have vowed not to repeal the embargo and pledged to roll back Obama’s moves on Cuba.Still, Monday’s events cap a remarkable change of course in U.S. policy toward the communist island under President Barack Obama, who had sought rapprochement with Cuba since he first took office and has progressively loosened restrictions on travel and remittances to the island.Obama’s efforts at engagement were frustrated for years by Cuba’s imprisonment of U.S. Agency for International Development contractor Alan Gross on espionage charges. But months of secret negotiations led in December to Gross’s release, along with a number of political prisoners in Cuba and the remaining members of a Cuban spy ring jailed in the United States. On Dec. 17, Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced they would resume full diplomatic relations. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywalllast_img