The sun may have been down, but the historically frozen relations between the United States and Cuba melted during the night. On Monday at 12:01 A.M., the United States and Cuba restored full diplomatic ties. The ties had been severed since 1961 when President Dwight Eisenhower closed the embassy and diplomatic relations.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla traveled to the new Cuban Embassy in Washington DC and raised the Cuban flag. The flag raising was broadcast on Cuban state TV.
Similarly, in Havana, the American Embassy re-opened to fanfare this morning. Staff returned to the old embassy, which has sat empty for over fifty years, and found that it was frozen in time. Calendars for 1961 still remained. Secretary of State John Kerry will raise the American flag at the embassy when he visits the island in August. A full ceremony for the embassy will be held when he visits.
At 4 AM, maintenance workers placed the Cuban flag alongside flags of numerous other nations. There was no ceremony and resembled every day up-keeping.
“A new stage will begin, long and complex, on the road toward normalization, which will require the will to find solutions to the problems that have accumulated over more than five decades and hurt ties between our nations and peoples,” said Cuban President Raul Castro last week.
Although, some have shown their disapproval of the restoration.
“Allowing the opening of the Cuban Embassy in Washington is nothing but another indefensible capitulation by the Obama administration to an avowed enemy of the U.S.,” stated Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). R0s-Lehtinen, a Cuban-American, has opposed President Obama’s normalization policies and has long wished for the Castro regime to end.
Both the United States and Cuba had presences in each other’s nations, thanks to Switzerland. Both had Interests Sections in the Swiss Embassies, led by a Section Chief. The Section Chiefs have now become Chargé d’affaires since ambassadors have not been confirmed yet.