President Barack Obama’s announcement that both Cuba and the United States will reopen their embassies is a major step towards normalising relations.
They have been frozen since the early 1960s when the US broke links and imposed a trade embargo.
Our correspondent Stefan Grobe said:
“The new approach to Cuba has been a huge diplomatic win for the Obama administration, accompanied by overwhelming support in both countries. Seeing the Cuban flag fly over the building behind me soon will be historic. What comes next is the lifting of the embargo – but that may take a while.”
Indeed some in the US have misgivings about the overtures being made by Washington.
Rachel DeLevie-Orey who is a Latin America analyst at the Atlantic Council:
“The treatment of dissidents, human rights, access to information, all of these things will continue to be a point of conflict, a sticking point. But these are conflicts that we have with governments across the globe.”
Since 1977, the US and Cuba have operated diplomatic missions called “interests sections” in each other’s capitals, but they do not enjoy the same status as full embassies.Cuban’s view the change as an improvement.
“We’ve been in this situation for 56 years and I think this will benefit the country in certain respects and I think it benefits those of us who want to see our families, our children, who are there in the US,” said Jesus Hernandez Garcia who was in Havana applying for a visa to the US.
The embassies could be open later this month, after that there’s the trade embargo. It’s a problem! Democrat Obama has asked for it to be lifted but Republican controlled Congress has refused.