The Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C., became a full-fledged embassy on July 20th, marking a major turning point in diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S. This is the first time in over 50 years that Cuba has flown its flag at an embassy in the United States.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez presided over the event, a huge breakthrough in the diplomatic freeze that began with the announcement by President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro on Dec. 17, 2014.
Many cheered while others protested on the streets of Washington D.C., as the Cuban embassy reopened after 54 years. Hundreds crowded less than two miles north of the White House to watch the historic flag raising, the next big step on Obama’s ongoing push for better relations with the island country.
However, not everyone was happy. A Cuban-American human rights advocate based in Washington said the U.S. move to normalize relations with Cuba may be a set-back for Cuban dissidents. “It is a fairy tale to assume that just because the president makes concessions to Raul Castro, then Raul Castro will behave and stop abusing the people of Cuba,” said Frank Calzon, head of the Center for a Free Cuba. Citing the Cuban government’s continued arrests of anti-government protesters and dissidents, he said the Castro government had been “emboldened,” because it had yet to receive U.S. pressure to improve human rights.
But, Secretary of State John Kerry said the move to re-establish relations would allow the U.S. to continue and “hopefully accelerate” its engagement with Cuba on issues such as human rights and law enforcement.
To stay updated on current USCIS issues or to learn more about the new Cuban-American relations, please visit Central Florida’s full service immigration firm at www.OrlandoVisa.com, or call us at (407) 648-5742.