On July 20th Cuba and the United States restored diplomatic relations. Press reports called that day historical, because this would begin a new chapter in ties between the two countries. Since then, the national flag of Cuba flies in front of 2630 16th Street in northwest Washington, where the Cuban embassy is located. The American flag will be hoisted at an official ceremony on August 14th in Havana with the presence of US Secretary of State John Kerry. Many opinions have been expressed by Cubans, including some that ensure the start of a different stage for the two peoples.
"It is not just an option that restores diplomatic relations, but it's also an option that helps the economic development of the country, allowing more income from tourism to the island, increasing exports and imports. And the cultural exchange is also an option that is improved with this re-opening."
"I consider myself privileged because I have lived through two stages: the stage where relationships are broken and again, fortunately, now restored. I think it was a step forward."
"It is a complex situation because as President Raul Castro said, the relations between Cuba and the United States have always been marked by the imperial appetite to dominate our country economically and politically. Relations were broken because the United States broke diplomatic relations with Cuba and that's important to remember, because especially for young people, it may seem it was the Revolution or Fidel who broke relations with the United States and that is not true, it was the United States, the US government, which decided to break off diplomatic relations with Cuba."
While the restoration of diplomatic relations marks the beginning of the process towards normalization of bilateral ties, the road ahead will be long and complex. This was confirmed by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.
Bruno Rodríguez: "We have insisted that the total lifting of the blockade is essential for progress towards normalization of bilateral relations, as well as the return of the territory illegally occupied in Guantánamo and full respect for the sovereignty of Cuba. Also compensation for our people for human and economic damages."
The restoration of diplomatic ties and the opening of embassies in the respective capitals are part of the bilateral approach announced by Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama last December 17th.
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