The act of restoring diplomatic ties and reopening embassies “concludes the first stage of what will be a long and complex process towards normalizing bilateral ties”, as many issues derived from past policies continue to affect the people and the country of Cuba and will have to be resolved, the Cuban government said in a statement.
The short ceremony at the Cuban Foreign Ministry ended 54 years of tensions that began during the Eisenhower administration.
Now that embassies have opened up in both the United States and Cuba, the Havana Film Festival observes that USA, European and Latin American filmmakers and producers are taking interest in the country as a blooming hotspot for development and production. In announcing it, the president was cementing a central element of his foreign policy legacy that has engendered stiff resistance in Congress, particularly among Republicans and Cuban-American lawmakers, and is likely to become a flash point in the 2016 presidential campaign.
“The progress we make today is another demonstration we don’t have to be imprisoned by the past”, Obama said in remarks from the White House Rose Garden, NBC News reported.
Announcing the embassy agreement Wednesday, Obama declared: “This is what change looks like”. Secretary of State John Kerry intends to go to Havana to “proudly raise the American flag over our embassy once more”, Obama said.
Fellow exile Victor Gomez, who served with the US military in Vietnam, admits that “what was done to try and topple that man (Fidel Castro) didn’t work”, and now he is “happy” that they are trying to work things out in another way.
More than half a century after leaving their homes and families, the Cuban exiles who escaped the Castro regime – caught between resignation and hope – on Thursday are witnessing a new diplomatic phase between the United States and Cuba that is stirring up the deepest feelings of several generations.
To achieve normalization it will also be indispensable that the territory illegally occupied by the Guantanamo Naval Base is returned, that radio and television transmissions to Cuba that are in violation of worldwide norms and harmful to our sovereignty cease, that programs aimed at promoting subversion and internal destabilization are eliminated, and that the Cuban people are compensated for the human and economic damages caused by the policies of the United States. How sad is it that under the Obama administration the United States is going to have an embassy in Havana before we have an embassy in Jerusalem, that this administration will be friendlier to a communist dictator who hates America and seeks to undermine our nation than it is willing to stand with our close friend and ally, the nation of Israel.
Republican candidate for president Sen.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress have collaborated on legislation to relax the most onerous elements of the embargo, starting with a travel ban.