“The progress we make today is another demonstration we don’t have to be imprisoned by the past”, Obama said in brief remarks on Wednesday. The countries announced they will re-establish diplomatic relations on July 20 and reopen embassies after more than 50 years.
He added that Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Havana later this summer to raise the American flag over the US embassy.
“Establishing diplomatic relations with the Castro regime without verified improvements in the [human rights] situation faced by the Cuban people would not be consistent with our values as a nation and the intent of the USA Congress, as codified in law”, Rubio wrote in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry.
The development comes six months after Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro agreed to end the Cold War-era standoff.
“The new approach to Cuba has been a huge diplomatic win for the Obama administration, accompanied by overwhelming support in both countries”. The USA said it expects to open an embassy July 20.
The announcement came an hour before President Obama planned to discuss the embassies at the White House.
Obama said the controversial move would allow the United States to have more influence over its ex- enemy and he urged Congress to go a step further by lifting the USA embargo on the island. He’s referring to the freedom of movement for USA diplomats that had been a sticking point in negotiations to reopen the embassies.
Located along Havana’s Atlantic coastline, the building that held the pre-embargo embassy has housed the United States Special Interest Section (USINT) since 1977.
“I don’t think we should do that”, the first-term Florida Republican said in an interview. Eisenhower broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba in response to tensions with the revolutionary government of Fidel Castro. Marco Rubio, who believes Obama should not work with Cuban President Raúl Castro.
Obama also called on Wednesday for the Congress to lift the embargo that prevents Cubans from travelling or doing business in Cuba.
DeLaurentis was tasked Wednesday with personally hand-delivering the letter from Obama about restoring relations to interim Cuban Foreign Minister Marcelino Medina. Aside from a photo op for his presidential legacy tour, the President has nothing to show for his concessions: no human rights improvements for Cubans and nothing for Americans impacted by the tyrannical regime.
The argument of the Republican opposition is that the United States is opening up to Cuba without obtaining anything in exchange: the island has not launched any reform in the area of human rights and has not changed its stance regarding the requests for compensation for the properties confiscated from Americans during the Cuban Revolution. In May, Cuba announced that its banking services for that office had been restored, a precondition to reopening a full embassy.