Cuba: A New Chapter With Our Neighbors in the Americas

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
July 1, 2015
President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House

In January of 1961, President Eisenhower announced the termination of U.S. relations with Cuba. No one expected that it would be more than half a century before it re-opened.

Today, more than 54 years later, President Obama announced the United States has agreed to formally re-establish diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cuba, and re-open embassies in our respective countries -- a historic step forward in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people, and begin a new chapter with our neighbors in the Americas.

“Later this summer, Secretary Kerry will travel to Havana formally to proudly raise the American flag over our embassy once more,” President Obama said. “This is not merely symbolic.  With this change, we will be able to substantially increase our contacts with the Cuban people.  We’ll have more personnel at our embassy. And our diplomats will have the ability to engage more broadly across the island. That will include the Cuban government, civil society, and ordinary Cubans who are reaching for a better life.”

The President reiterated his belief that the best way for America to support our values is through engagement, which is why we’ve already taken steps to allow for greater travel, people-to-people and commercial ties between the United States and Cuba. 

President Barack Obama speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., on July 1, 2015 [AP Photo]

This action will also allow us to find new ways to cooperate with Cuba on other issues of common interest –- like counterterrorism, disaster response, and development. But President Obama made clear that we will also continue to have some very serious differences. “That will include America’s enduring support for universal values, like freedom of speech and assembly, and the ability to access information. And we will not hesitate to speak out when we see actions that contradict those values”

The President underscored that while Cuba is not expected to be transformed overnight, American engagement -- through our embassy, our businesses, and most of all, through our people -- is the best way to advance our interests and support for democracy and human rights. 

To many it may have seemed impossible that the United States would once again be raising our flag, the stars and stripes, over an embassy in Havana, president Obama noted. “This is what change looks like.”

He concluded, “Time and again, America has demonstrated that part of our leadership in the world is our capacity to change.  It’s what inspires the world to reach for something better.”

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David L.
Florida, USA
July 1, 2015
Great news! Does this mean that the travel ban is also lifted?
Anna C.
Massachusetts, USA
July 2, 2015
Dear Secretary Kerry, I have been a Spanish teacher in Massachusetts since 1976. In recent years I have taken the opportunity at Veterans Day to study The Spanish American War and The Cuban Missile Crisis with my middle school classes. Since my brother was a marine serving in the blockade during the crisis, I tend to become a bit passionate about this historic event. I believe that through the understanding and accepting of cultural differences, nations will be able to discuss issues and exchange mutually beneficial goods and services to better serve their people. So, I am thrilled that this November I will be able to present to my students a new age in Cuba-US relations and hand them the reins to an optimistic future. Thank you for your efforts during these negotiations. Sincerely, Anna Maria Connolly
Patrick W.
Maryland, USA
July 3, 2015
I'm for Immigration in large numbers. I'm glade we are think about our future with other countries, and our own in the world. Numbers of people are thinking about the benefits of a larger population of people from around the world living here in America. I think, It's a good thing ! We are suppose to be the melting pot of many people and cultures into One Great American Nation, like the Founding Fathers of our Country wanted for all people who come to America. I think, we should continue on in same way we started out in this country. And then laugh about it, when it makes no sense to anyone else in the world, including some of us .. I guess we are real Americans ! :)


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