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article imageCuba and United States resume full diplomatic relations

By Nathan Salant     Jul 23, 2015 in World
Washington - The United States and Cuba restored diplomatic relations Monday in one of the most-obvious signs of change since Barack Obama was elected president and Fidel Castro left office.
Officials at the United States' interests section in Havana and Cuba's equivalent offices in the U.S.geared up Monday for their official announcements of the resumption of full diplomatic relations between the longtime adversaries.
Normal diplomatic ties between the two countries resumed quietly just after midnight on Monday, capping a frantic few months of negotiations to resolve a seemingly intractable relic of the Cold War.
The United States and Cuba broke diplomatic relations in 1961 after the old Soviet Union placed ballistic missiles in the Caribbean nation but withdrew them, and maintained the break for more than five decades, even though the two countries are only 90 miles apart.
“It’s a historic moment,” longtime Cuban diplomat and analyst Carlos Alzugaray told the Associated Press.
“The significance of opening the embassies is that trust and respect that you can see, both sides treating the other with trust and respect,” Alzugaray said.
The countries plan a formal ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Monday when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Cuba's minister of foreign affairs, Bruno Rodriguez, attend the raising of Cuba's flag at the U.S. State Department.
Kerry and Rodriguez also plan a joint news conference after the flag ceremony.
The U.S. flag will not be raised at the new U.S. embassy in Havana until a visit planned by Kerry in August.
But the new era of relations is not without controversy in the U.S., where many members of Congress from both major parties expressed reservations about the change, the AP said.
Several candidates for the 2016 Republican Party presidential nomination have pledged to roll back any diplomatic changes and keep the 53-year-old trade embargo in force.
The U.S. removed Cuba from its list of terrorism sponsors in May, and U.S. contractor Alan Gross was released by Cuba in December, prompting Obama and Castro's brother, Raul Castro, who now rules Cuba, to announce the resumption of full relations in July.
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