The U.S. Reopens its Embassy in Cuba after 54 years

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives - along with Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis and Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs Deputy Chief of Protocol Lidia Gonzales -- at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, Cuba, on August 14, 2015This morning, 54 years after three Marines lowered the American flag outside the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, they will join Secretary of State John Kerry to raise the flag over the embassy in Havana once more.

On January 04, 1961 three marines assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Havana were tasked to lower the flag of the United States of America on the closing of the embassy. The three marines were:

  • Gunnery Sergeant F.W. Mike East, USMC (ret.) U.S. Embassy Havana 1960-1961
  • Corporal Larry C. Morris, USMC (ret.) U.S. Embassy Havana 1960-1961
  • Master Gunnery Sergeant Jim Tracy, USMC (ret.) U.S. Embassy Havana 1960-1961

Today's ceremony was the culmination of events following the  December 17, 2014 announcement by President Barack Obama that “the United States was changing its relationship with the people of Cuba” He said that “we will end an outdated approach that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests, and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries. Through these changes, we intend to create more opportunities for the American and Cuban people, and begin a new chapter among the nations of the Americas.”

In spite of the United States position on Cuba, formal diplomatic relations between the CARICOM nations of Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago have existed since December 8, 1972. This relationship benefited the CARICOM nations in several areas e.g. technical, cultural and medical and sports. It was during one of the many flights from Guyana via Barbados to Cuba that on departure from Barbados, a terrorist bomb destroyed Cubana CU455 which then plunged into the Caribbean sea killing all aboard, including many young students and athletes.

The reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Cuba is the beginning of normalization of relationship with Cuba, President Barack Obama has eased some travel and business restrictions, but only Congress can lift the 53-year-old embargo, and with Republicans controlling both chambers through the end of his term, it is very unlikely at this time.



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