US and Cuba re-open embassies

US and Cuba restore ties by re-opening embassies after 54 years

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The United States and Cuba, mark a new era in their diplomatic ties by re-opening their embassies after a half-century of estrangement.

Along with a ceremony, Cuba on Monday opened its Washington mission after 54 years freeze, while US on Sunday took over its former Havana mission from the auspices of the Swiss Embassy.

The flag rising ceremony for the re-opening of Havana mission will occur during US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Cuba in August.

A new stage in both countries diplomatic relations were signaled last month when President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro with exchanged letters agreed to restore ties on July 20.

In 1961, US-Cuba relations were severed following efforts of the US to topple the communist Cuban regime and set of restrictions and sanctions that followed, aiming to enforce democratization and improvement on the human rights issues.

Raul Castro urged the lifting of these sanctions in achieving the normalisation process, while the US wants compensation for its seized property following the Cuban revolution. 

United Nations General assembly in 2013, urged US to lift the decades long embargo against Cuba. 

A little more than a month after a meeting between Obama and Castro at the sidelines of an Americas Summit, US State Department removed Cuba from its state sponsors of terrorism list on May 29th, 2015, further easing the tensions between two countries.

Before the recent reopening of the US embassy, US diplomats reported that there were no sign of US diplomatic presence in Cuba. 

The normalisation process would include cooperation on issues such as global health, human rights, expanded reach to telecommunication to Cuba and US fugitives that are long asked for their return.  

In December 2014, with the assistance of Pope Francis, the first steps into a normalisation process between two countries were taken.  Following the negotiations, the US lifted several travel restrictions and allowed US bank access to the Cuban financial system. 

TRTWorld and agencies