In its budget request last February, the Obama administration asked Congress for $6 million in 2016 for the USA mission in Havana to “expand its presence and transition to embassy status to handle more extensive operations”.
Despite the historic step, the USA and Cuba are still grappling with deep divisions and mistrust.
“We wont hesitate to speak out when we see contradiction to those values”, the president said. “It is time for our unilateral concessions to this odious regime to end”. Rodriguez, who has been in his post since 2012, could end up as Cuba’s ambassador to the US. The US Embassy for Israel is in Tel Aviv because of sensitivities in the Middle East about moving it to Jerusalem.
“Isolation has not worked”, Obama said. The Kentucky senator has supported the normalization of relations with Cuba.
Obama did not nominate an ambassador Wednesday and there was no indication that he planned to do so quickly. After all, why should Washington stand in the way of our own people?
One of the harshest critics of President Barack Obama’s outreach to Cuba is a fellow Democrat – Sen. Secretary of State John Kerry plans to go to the embassy opening in Havana. She is the host of the Cuban political talk show, “Round Table”.
Menendez said the message from the administration “is democracy and human rights take a back seat to a legacy initiative”.
“This is a historic step forward in our efforts to normalise relations with the Cuban government and people, and begin a new chapter with our neighbours in the Americas”, Obama said.
Obama was to announce the agreement later on Wednesday at the White House. Those opposed to normalizing relations with Cuba say he is prematurely rewarding a regime that engages in serious human rights abuses.
CCTV America’s Michael Voss has more details, in Havana.
“I am pleased to write to you to confirm that the Republic of Cuba has decided to resume diplomatic relations with the United States and open permanent diplomatic missions in our respective countries on July 20″, Castro said in the text.
He credited Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro with making a necessary change.
Kerry, recovering from a broken leg, spoke from a city square with crutches at his side.
Ever defiant toward his neighbor just 90 miles (145 km) to he north, Fidel Castro, 88, remained in power until 2008, when he handed off to his younger brother Raul Castro, 84.
President Obama has made strides to restore diplomacy with Cuba.
In a highly unusual move, Cuban state television broadcast Mr Obama’s remarks live with translation in Spanish. In recent weeks, Cuba also re-paved the driveway, re-painted the fence and erected a large flagpole on the front lawn to await the formal raising of its flag. “The blockade is the main obstacle to the development of our economy; it is a violation of global Law and affects the interests of all countries, including those of the United States“. He also renewed calls today for the lifting of a trade embargo with Cuba that has grown stricter over the years as Republicans in Congress, some of them Cuban-Americans, have pressed for a hard line against Havana.
The WHO said that an worldwide delegation sent to Cuba in March by the United Nations agency and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) had determined that the country met the criteria for the designation.
Following 18 months of secret negotiations brokered by Pope Francis and Canada, the two leaders announced separately but simultaneously in December that they planned to reopen embassies in each other’s capitals and normalise relations.
Both countries are presently represented by an “interests section” within the embassies of Switzerland.