US flag flies over embassy in Cuba after historic ceremony

Kerry arrives in Cuba this Friday on the first visit by a U.S. secretary of state to the island since 1945.


Politico pointed out that U.S. diplomats will not have unfettered access to Cubans.

Kerry’s “presence in Havana on his global capitulation tour is yet another example of the Obama administration’s desire to pursue deals at any cost”, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., an opponent of normalisation, said in a statement Thursday.

“It was a touching moment”, said East, who is now 76.

Secretary of State John Kerry raised the Stars and Stripes on Friday, cementing the renewal of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba. That same day, Cuba announced that it had freed jailed American contractor Alan Gross and the U.S. released three Cuban spies in exchange for an imprisoned U.S. intelligence asset.

Supporters of the revolution remain suspicious of U.S. motives.

Already, American businesses and interests have started engaging more in Cuba, CBS News Senior National Security Analyst Juan Zarate said Thursday. “Cuba’s future is for Cubans to shape”, he said. “Cuba’s future is for Cuba to shape”.

This Congressional opposition means advancing the U.S.-Cuban relationship will be hard for Obama.

Kerry said that the Obama administration would like to have the embargo lifted, but lawmakers in Congress must vote to repeal it.

Eight months later, Havana has repeatedly demanded a complete lifting of the embargo. Dissidents were not invited to the morning flag-raising in deference to the Cuban government, which sees dissidents as US-sponsored mercenaries.

“This is a step we strongly favor”, he added.

In addition to attending the flag raising, Kerry on Friday meets with Cuban Foreign Minister Rodriguez.

At about noon on January 4th, 1961, after spending hours feeding mounds of government documents into an incinerator, three marines assigned to the US embassy guard force in Havana turned their attention to a solemn task: lowering the American flag.

Bruguera, who was arrested last year when she tried to engage in public performance art in Havana, says the U.S. should now use its position to demand human rights reforms and help democracy take root.

“We will talk very directly about a sort of road map toward real, full normalization”, Kerry said.

Full normalisation is unlikely until Cuba addresses long-standing claims by Cubans and US businesses that lost billions of dollars in property and assets when the communists came to power.


Cuba wants the United States to end its economic embargo of the island, return the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay in eastern Cuba and halt radio and television signals beamed into Cuba.

FILE- In this Aug. 7 2015 file