The US’ top diplomat Jeffrey DeLaurentis delivered a letter from the White House about restoring the embassies to Cuba’s foreign ministry in Havana on Wednesday. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said that “by suggesting the dictatorship in Cuba is an acceptable or normal government, we are sending the worst possible message at the most critical time”.
Flags of Cuba and the US flutter in Havana, Cuba (file photo). “We will not hesitate to speak out when we see actions that contradict those values. The truth is that since the Castro brothers assumed power in 1959, their policies have changed very little”, said Rick Perry, another Republican presidential candidate.
“Once again the (Cuban) regime is being rewarded while they jail dissidents, silence political opponents, and harbor American fugitives and cop killers”, he said in a statement, accusing Obama of pursuing a “legacy initiative”.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says the plan is “legitimizing the brutal Castro regime”. Ted Cruz of Texas said it was a “slap in the face” of Israel to put an embassy in Havana before Jerusalem.
And while the US and Cuba have agreed on some general issues – like restoring economic trade – other potential roadblocks still stand in the way of a long-lasting partnership. It changes the level of United States relationship with the region.
Hua called on the USA and Cuba to maintain dialogue and consultation and work together to consolidate the momentum for better relations. The USA embargo against the island, imposed after the 1959 revolution, now remains in place.
The move has been months in the making, ever since President Obama first announced steps toward normalizing relations last December.
Final negotiations on re-opening the embassies had been dominated by discussions over the free movement of diplomats.
Of the larger US embargo, the Rev. León said, “some laws should have an expiration date”, because the embargo “did nothing but offer the Castro regime an excuse” for failings in society, even when it was the Cuban system that was at fault.
“This is not merely symbolic”, Obama said.
“Instead of supporting democracy for the Cuban people, our efforts to isolate Cuba despite good intentions, had the opposite effect: they helped maintain the status quo and isolated the United States in relation to neighbors in this hemisphere”. While Americans won’t have unfettered freedom of movement, officials said they would now only notify the Cuban government of travel outside of Havana, not seek permission.
USA Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking from Vienna, said he would visit Havana later this summer to raise the USA flag outside the USA embassy, now labelled the USA interests section under the protection of the Swiss government. “I believe it’s time for Congress to do the same”, he said.
Cuba has an interests section in a stately manor in Washington that could be upgraded.
After the embassies open, the White House hopes Congress will get rid of some of the travel and business restrictions on the country. Also, on May 28, the US removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terror.