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July 5, 2015

ICYMI: Re-establishment of U.S.-Cuba Diplomatic Relations

It has been 54 years since President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced the termination of diplomatic relations with the island nation of Cuba. Today at the White House Rose Garden, President Barack Obama announced that the United States and Cuba would restore full diplomatic ties after half a century, starting with the reopening of embassies in each country.

Later this month, Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Cuba to personally take part in the formal reopening of the United States Embassy in Havana. This will mark the resumption of embassy operations since diplomatic relations were terminated in 1961. Moreover, Kerry's arrival in Havana marks the first visit by a U.S. secretary of state to Cuba since 1945.

The President reiterated his belief that the best way for America to support its values is through engagement, which will enable greater travel, people-to-people interaction and commercial ties between the United States and Cuba.

Following President Obama's announcement in Washington, DC, Secretary Kerry paused from the P5+1 Talks with Iran - currently underway in Vienna, Austria - to deliver a statement.
 
 "The United States and Cuba continue to have sharp differences over democracy, human rights, and related issues, but we also have identified areas for cooperation that include law enforcement, safe transportation, emergency response, environmental protection, telecommunications, and migration," said Kerry. "The resumption of full embassy activities will help us engage the Cuban Government more often and at a higher level, and it will also allow our diplomats to interact more frequently, and frankly more broadly and effectively, with the Cuban people."

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Remarks from The Latin America Working Group: 

“The Latin America Working Group celebrates this major milestone in U.S.-Cuba relations. It is a long-awaited development, supported by the majority of Americans, Cuban Americans, and Cubans, alike. A relationship based on equality and respect is now possible, and we congratulate the diplomats and policymakers who have worked on this new reality for our two countries. And we highlight the advocacy and citizen diplomacy that activists from around the country have carried out for years. Work well done.” says Mavis Anderson, the Latin America Working Group’s Senior Associate on Cuba.

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