Are you celebrating today? You've worked hard to push for the
restoration of diplomatic relations and your work has paid off! The United
States and Cuban Interests Sections have finally been reopened as embassies
today in Washington and Havana! This is a big step forward in the relationship
between the two countries and we owe it to you! Click here to watch the Cuban flag being risen in front of the
embassy for the first time in 54 years.
We applaud this historic milestone in U.S.-Cuba relations and look forward
to the diplomatic conversations that will take place as a result. But,
we still have lots of work to do to end the trade embargo and the travel
ban once and for all! Humberto , we know we can count on you to
continue supporting LAWG in our efforts to convince the U.S. Congress to
catch up with Obama's policy changes and the public opinion of Americans,
Cuban Americans, and Cubans alike!
Read our full press release below or on our website. Sincerely,
Mavis, Angelika and Julia, LAWG’s Cuba team
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 20,
Washington, D.C.— At midnight today, the Cuban Interests Section
in Washington, D.C. was officially converted to an embassy. At 4am EST, the
Cuban flag was placed in the lobby of the U.S. State Department, alongside
flags of other nations with which the United States maintains diplomatic
relations. At 10:30am EST, the Cuban flag was also raised in front of the
newly reopening Cuban embassy in Washington during a ceremony honoring the
reestablishment of diplomatic ties between the two nations. Among the
notable attendees at the flag-raising ceremony were the heads of ongoing
diplomatic negotiations: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western
Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson and Director of Cuba's U.S. Division in
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Josefina Vidal. Secretary of State John
Kerry will meet with Cuban chancellor Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla this
afternoon at the State Department to address reporters in a joint news
The U.S. Interests Section in Havana was also reopened as an embassy today.
An official celebration and flag-raising ceremony will take place on August
14, 2015 in the presence of Secretary of State John Kerry. Secretary of
State Kerry’s historic trip to Havana will mark the first visit of a U.S.
Secretary of State to Cuba since 1945.
“The Latin America Working Group celebrates this major milestone in
U.S.-Cuba relations and lauds the long-awaited reopening of embassies in
Havana and Washington. The decision to reestablish diplomatic relations
reflects widespread support from the majority of Americans, Cuban
Americans, and Cubans alike. Our two countries can now formally work
towards building a diplomatic relationship based on equality and respect; a
relationship that diplomats, policymakers, activists, and advocates have
been working toward for years,” says Angelika Albaladejo, the Latin America
Working Group’s Program Assistant on Cuba.
U.S. and Cuban diplomats will now be formally registered and for the first
time since formal embassies were closed, they will be allowed to travel
freely in the countries and will be able to receive invitations to
functions as members of other diplomatic offices can.
The opening of embassies marks a major step forward in normalizing
diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba after half a century of a
failed U.S. foreign policy on Cuba. The U.S. and Cuba had been negotiating
the reestablishment of embassies since the December 17, 2014 announcement
that the two countries would move to restore ties and the official
announcement of the reopening of embassies was made by President Barack
Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro on July 1, 2015.
Cuba was officially removed from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list on
May 29. President Obama’s actions on Cuba have made huge strides forward in
normalizing U.S. relations with Cuba, but much remains to be done. Only
Congress can definitively end the embargo and the travel ban on Cuba. Downloadable PDF of press release