Long-closed US, Cuba embassies reopen
people attended the ceremony at the nearly century-old mansion. The US delegation was headed by Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson.
Before dawn on Monday, workers hung the Cuban flag in the lobby of the State Department alongside the banners of other countries with which the United States has diplomatic relations.
“We’ve waited a long time for this day,” Senator Patrick Leahy, a staunch supporter of rapprochement, said as he entered the grounds of the Cuban Embassy.
Hard-line anti-castro lawmakers, such as Senators Marco Rubio and Bob Menendez, who oppose Mr Obama’s outreach to Cuba, were not invited.
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush underscored his opposition on Twitter: “Obama’s rush to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba is wrong. This embassy will only serve to further legitimize repressive regime.”
The opening to Cuba reflects Mr Obama’s presidential doctrine of negotiating with enemies, a concept that faces an even tougher test with a nuclear deal reached with Iran last week.
But the counterpoint to restoration of ties is a long list of lingering disputes, as well as Havana’s desire to keep a tight rein on Cuba’s society and its state-run economy.
In addition to lifting the embargo, Havana demands the return of the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay — an issue that Mr Kerry said Cuba had “strong feelings about” but which is not currently under discussion.
Other problems include the countries’ outstanding legal claims against each other and Cuba’s sheltering of American fugitives.
The Cuban flag is hoisted as the embassy in Washington reopens on Monday.