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Jul 2, 2015

EU and Cuba reopen embassies July 20

After more than half a century of hostility, EU and Cuba declared reopen their embassies in their respective capitals this month, marking a historic and full restoration of diplomatic relations between the Cold War foes.

Washington. After more than half a century of hostility, the US and Cuba declared reopen their embassies in their respective capitals this month, marking a historic and full restoration of diplomatic relations between the Cold War foes.

For President Barack Obama, the opening of the US Embassy in the heart of Havana is one of the most tangible manifestations of its longstanding promise to confront the enemies of the United States directly.

Cuban television broadcast Obama's statement live, highlighting the new spirit. In a letter to Obama, Cuban President Raul Castro, praised the announcement of the embassy as a way to "develop friendly and cooperative relations between our peoples and governments relations." Despite the historic step, EU and Cuba are still struggling with deep divisions and distrust.

The US is particularly concerned about the famous human rights violations in Cuba. While the island is demanding an end to the economic embargo by the United States, the yield on the US military base at Guantanamo, and the cessation of radio and television transmissions of EU aimed at the island.

Moreover, Obama wants Congress to lift the embargo, but Republican opposition makes it unlikely that happening in the near future. Republicans and a handful of Democrats say Obama is prematurely rewarding an oppressive government that imprisons dissidents and silencing political opponents.

"The Obama administration is giving Castro a legitimate lifelong dream without getting something for the Cuban people, who are being oppressed by the brutal communist dictatorship," said Republican House Speaker John Boehner.

The historic thaw in relations between EU and Cuba is seen by the White House as a central part of the heritage of the foreign policy of President. President Barack Obama described the event as a "historic step" in bilateral relations and said it is the beginning of a "new chapter for our neighbors in the Americas." He said that Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to the Cuban capital for the opening ceremony of the embassy.

A senior official of the State Department explained that the presence of Kerry on the island is not a legal requirement to be restored diplomatic relations on July 20, upon completion of the 15 days prescribed by law since the State Department notified the Congress Wednesday the change of status of the diplomatic mission in Havana.

The official said the State Department include the July 20 flag Cuba to the collection of flags belonging to nations that have relations with the US, but did not know if the American flag will already hoisted on a mission to Havana when Kerry visit.

In his speech, Obama hinted that the negotiations initiated in December allowed American aspirations satisfactorily resolve the conditions necessary for the operation of their embassy, ​​such as guarantees on the elimination of restrictions on their diplomats traveling, receive or send correspondence and for controlling access of Cubans to the US mission by the authorities of the island.

Two of the most important Cuban complaints were settled this year with Obama's decision to withdraw Cuba from the list of terrorism sponsoring countries and grant a license to a bank to resume its services to the US Interests Section in Havana in Washington.

The US broke diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961, after the revolution led by Fidel Castro, and spent decades trying to overthrow the government of the Caribbean nation or isolate, including through the intensification of the embargo originally imposed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The president will face stiff opposition in Congress to use taxpayer money to build or refurbish an embassy in Havana, as the Legislative must approve any request for spending.

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