WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Historic day for international relations. After more than a half-century, the Cuban Embassy reopened in the nation’s capital.
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Not since 1961, when the US and Cuba severed ties has there been a Cuban Embassy on US soil. That all changed Monday, bridging a gap between two countries.
It’s the first time the Cuban flag has been raised over its embassy in Washington DC in 54 years.
“This is huge. My father is from Cuba and for us, establishment of diplomatic relations is amazing. It’s basically what we’ve been waiting for for more than 50 years,” said Emmanuel Aguilar Posada.
Aguilar-Posada is a Cuban-American visiting DC from Los Angeles. He says he has a lot of pride in his Cuban background during this momentous occasion.
“It doesn’t necessarily extend towards the government and what the situation is like in Cuba at the moment but when I see the Cuban flag, I feel pride for my culture, my family and the Cuban-American community and also the Cuban community. Now we’re in solidarity with them,” he said.
The US and Cuba became full diplomatic partners at midnight Monday and the Cuban flag has been reinstalled at the State Department’s Hall of Flags.
“The diplomacy at the government to government level will allow them to talk more productively about ongoing issues that have been simmering now for decades,” said Julia Sweig, a Cuban scholar at the University of Texas.
Days before the reopening of the Cuban embassy, many people have been placing signs along the fence to show their support.
At least one protester was detained during the ceremony. There are currently no plans to change trade embargoes and travel limitations for Americans visiting Cuba. Those were put in place by Congress and can only be lifted or changed by Congress.
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The US will not fly the American flag over its new embassy in Havana until Secretary of State John Kerry arrives for a ceremony there in August.