Cuban dissidents not invited to U.S. embassy flag ceremony in Havana

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  Aug. 13, 2015 at 10:25 AM
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HAVANA, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Cuban dissidents will not be invited to the U.S. embassy flag-raising ceremony in Havana, which will be attended by representatives from both governments including Secretary of State John Kerry.

Instead, dissidents will be invited to a reception at the home of the chief of the U.S. mission in Cuba. The flag ceremony will be held on Friday, where Kerry will meet with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.

Kerry's will be the first sitting state secretary to visit Cuba since 1945.

"The Secretary plans, obviously, to meet with a broad range of civil society throughout the day. The opening ceremony, which is the flag-raising ceremony at the embassy, is principally a government-to-government event. It'll include officials from the Cuban Government, a range of U.S. Government agencies, as well as members of Congress," a senior State Department official said in a briefing on Wednesday.

"Later in the day, we are having a large event at the chief of mission's residence, which is also a diplomatic installation, in which a broad range of groups will be invited, including the Cuban Government, Cuban Americans, Cuban artists and cultural leaders, the Diplomatic Corps, entrepreneurs, and Cuban political human rights and media activists," the official added.

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