The U.S. and Cuba officially
reestablished diplomatic relations on Monday with the opening of embassies in both
countries, seven months after President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro
jointly announced the two governments would restore diplomatic ties.
The U.S. Interests Section on the
Malecon in Havana now is the U.S. Embassy Havana under the leadership of
interim charge d’affaires Jeffrey DeLaurentis. The flag-raising and official
festivities will take place when Secretary of State John Kerry visits Cuba on
Cuba Foreign Minister Bruno
Rodriguez raised the Cuban flag in front of the limestone mansion
at 2630 16th St., NW that once again has become Cuba’s embassy in
Cuba has had no embassy in the U.S.
since January 1961 when the U.S. broke diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Czechoslovakia (now the Czech
Republic and Slovakia) maintained the Washington mansion for several
years after 1961 before it reopened as the Cuban Interests Section in 1977 as a
quasi-diplomatic facility designed to handle bilateral affairs under the
protection of the Swiss government in both capitals.
Each country was allowed a small
number of officials whose movements were restricted outside Havana and
Under the new rules, diplomats from
both countries are allowed a greater freedom of movement.
Fidel Castro visited the embassy in
Washington in 1959 after his forces overthrew dictator Fulgencio Batista.
Neither the U.S. nor Cuba has named
an ambassador yet.
In Washington, the Cuban embassy
has been repainted and cleaned up in recent weeks and a new flagpole installed
out front, where the Cuban flag now flies.