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 Aug 14.

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 Washington. 

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 Washington.

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.


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