US and Cuba to Reopen Embassies, Begin New Chapter in Diplomacy

US and Cuba to Reopen Embassies, Begin New Chapter in Diplomacy

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Cuba capitol Havana CC dibaer

A half-century after breaking off relations, the United States and Cuba will restore full diplomatic ties and reopen embassies later this month.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Havana for the July 20th re-opening of the U.S. embassy there, and Cuba will open its embassy in Washington, DC, the same day.

Each country has maintained a minor diplomatic post called an “interest section” in the other country for years, but neither building was allowed to fly their country’s flag without formal relations. The first hint of today’s announcement came earlier this week as workers installed a new flagpole at the Cuban Interest Section just blocks from the White House.James-Harrison-giving blood-Australian-Red-Cross

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Since December, the two countries have been working quickly to bridge a divide that began in 1960 at the height of the Cold War.

Now, after more than five decades of isolation, the U.S. has relaxed its trade and travel restrictions and removed Cuba from its list of states that sponsor of terrorism.

“We don’t have to be imprisoned by the past. When something isn’t working, we can and will change,” President Obama said during the announcement in the White House Rose Garden.

(READ more at The Hill) – Photo of El Capitolio, Cuban Academy of Sciences, by dibaer, CC

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