President Obama announced today that Cuba and the United States will reopen their embassies as part of efforts to normalize relations. The two leaders exchanged letters that signified the changing in relations. Havana held a brief ceremony where Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the Chief of Mission at the U.S. Interests Section, delivered the note.
The American President spoke about the need to move on from the past, adding that the embargo began the same year he was born. The embargo began fifty-four years ago in 1961, in the final days of the Eisenhower Administration. “You don’t have to be imprisoned by the past,” he said. “If something isn’t working, we can and will change.”
The Obama Administration removed Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism back in May. That move paved the way for Wednesday’s announcement.
While embassies may start up, having an ambassador is a different matter. Republicans in the Senate, where a nominee would be confirmed, are in opposition to President Obama’s new relations with Cuba. Senator Marco Rubio is the main opponent of an ambassador and he serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which would confirm a potential nominee.