John Kerry reopens Havana embassy on historic trip

BBC
Published on August 14,2014

The US has reopened its embassy in Cuba more than 54 years after it was closed, in a symbolic step signalling the warming of ties between both countries.

John Kerry, the first US Secretary of State to visit Cuba in 70 years, presided over the ceremony in Havana.

The US flag was raised by the same US marines who brought it down in 1961.

Cuba reopened its embassy in Washington last month. But issues remain, with Cuban leader Fidel Castro blasting the US for not lifting its trade embargo.

In an open letter on Thursday, Mr Castro said the US owed Cuba millions of dollars because of its 53-year-long embargo. The letter makes no mention of the reopening of the US embassy.
Historic visit

Three marines who lowered the American flag for the last time on 4 January 1961 raised it again during Friday’s historic ceremony in Havana. They are now retired and in their late 70s.

“I’m gonna love seeing that flag go back up,” said former marine Jim Tracy, 78, in a US State Department video released ahead of the ceremony.

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