U.S., Cuba mark new era

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD -

Cuba’s blue, red and white-starred flag was hoisted Mon­day at the coun­try’s em­bassy in Washington, sig­nalling the start of a new post-Cold War era in U.S.-Cuba re­la­tions.

In swel­ter­ing heat and hu­mid­ity, Cuban For­eign Min­is­ter Bruno Ro­driguez presided over the flag-rais­ing cer­e­mony hours af­ter full diplo­matic re­la­tions with the United States were re­stored at the stroke of mid­night when an agree­ment to re­sume nor­mal ties took ef­fect. Ear­lier, with­out cer­e­mony, the Cuban flag was added in the lobby of the State Depart­ment along­side those of other coun­tries with which the U.S. has diplo­matic ties. U.S. and Cuban diplo­mats in Washington and Ha­vana also noted the up­grade in so­cial media posts.

Sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple gath­ered on the street out­side the em­bassy, cheer­ing as the Cuban na­tional an­them was played and three Cuban sol­diers in dress uni­forms stood at the base of the flag­pole and raised the flag.

But there were also signs of the sore points that con­tinue in the U.S.-Cuba re­la­tion­ship. In re­marks in­side the em­bassy Ro­driguez cited Cuban in­de­pen­dence leader Jose Marti, who he noted had paid trib­ute to Amer­ica’s val­ues but also warned of its “ex­cess crav­ing for dom­i­na­tion.” Cuba was able to sur­vive the past 50 years only be­cause of the “wise lead­er­ship of Fidel Cas­tro, the his­toric leader of the Cuban revo­lu­tion whose ideas we’ll al­ways re­vere,” Ro­driguez said.

He also slammed the U.S. for con­tin­u­ing to hold on to Guan­tanamo Bay, the U.S. naval base in Cuba where the Amer­i­can mil­i­tary prison con­tin­ues to hold terror sus­pects. Ro­driguez said Guan­tanamo was a “ne­far­i­ous con­se­quence” of U.S. at­tempts to dom­i­nate the hemi­sphere.

AP PHOTO

Ed­wardo Clark, a Cuban-Amer­i­can, holds an Amer­i­can flag and a Cuban flag as he cel­e­brates out­side the new Cuban em­bassy in Washington Mon­day.

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