A Cuban flag is raised over during a ceremony to reopen the Cuban embassy to the United States, in Washington, D.C. on July 20, 2015. After 54 years Cuba's embassy has reopened today as part of President Obama's plan to restart diplomatic relations with the island nation. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, July 20 (UPI) -- Cuba and the United States restored full diplomatic relations Monday, with the reopening of reciprocal embassies in Havana and Washington.
The six-story building on Havana's waterfront, regarded a diplomatic mission for the past half-century, now has full status as an embassy, although it will wait until later in the summer for a ceremonial inauguration, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in attendance. Cuba and the United States agreed to restore diplomatic relations, severed since 1961, in December 2014.
Kerry will hold talks, later Monday, in Washington with his Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez. There remain issues on which the two countries "don't see eye to eye," a U.S. State Dept. spokesman said.
Many restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba remain in place, as well as a trade embargo banning most U.S. companies from doing business in Cuba. Little has changed in Cuba's human rights record, long a sore point in relations between the two countries, although Cuba has been removed from a U.S. list of countries sponsoring terrorism.
Success of the diplomatic thaw will require Cuban flexibility and the slow removal of the anti-American attitude which has kept much of Cuban society frozen in time, referred to as the "internal embargo," and defined the economic and social lives of Cubans.
"Cuba has more of a challenge to change than does the United States. They're going to have to open up one way or another," Ricardo Pascoe, former Mexican ambassador to Cuba, commented.
Cuban flag raised at U.S. Department of State
The Cuban flag joined all the other nations on display at the Department of State in Washington, D.C., this morning.It's a further sign of thawing relations between the U.S. and Cuba, just 90 miles apart but worlds away for several decades now.What are your thoughts on the changes?(video courtesy State Department)Posted by United Press International on Monday, July 20, 2015