U.S. and Cuba reach a deal to open embassies, renew diplomatic ties
– President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to make formal
– Embassies would open in Washington, D.C. and Havana
– For U.S., sticking point has been freedom for diplomats to travel
BY LESLEY CLARK
The Obama administration has reached an agreement with Cuba’s government
to re-establish diplomatic ties and open embassies in each other’s
capitals for the first time in more than half a century, a senior
administration official said.
President Barack Obama — who upended 50 years of strained U.S.-Cuba
relations in December — will announce the news at 11 a.m. on Wednesday
in the Rose Garden. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is in Vienna for
talks on Iran’s nuclear program, will also make an announcement.
The move comes shortly after the administration removed one chief
stumbling block to renewed relations, striking Cuba from a list of state
sponsors of terrorism.
The two nations had engaged in a series of talks since December aimed at
re-establishing ties, hashing out sticking points, including how many
diplomats would be authorized for each embassy and whether Cuba can
offer assurances of freedom of movement for U.S. diplomats around the
Obama’s Cuba overtures have generally been applauded, but Miami
Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, accused Obama of looking to buff up
his legacy. She said that since the U.S. announced plans to restore
relations, the State Department has failed to condemn a spike in
repression of dissidents on the island.
“This administration has shown that politics trump policy in its
decision-making process,” she said. “Opening the American Embassy in
Cuba will do nothing to help the Cuban people and is just another
trivial attempt for President Obama to go legacy shopping.”
Obama in December announced an agreement to restore diplomatic relations
with the communist-ruled Cuba and authorized an expansion of travel and
trade with the island.
While Obama said at the time that the Castro regime continues to repress
its citizens, he believed that it was time to scrap a U.S. policy that
has failed in its goal of bring democracy to Cuba.
“I don’t expect a transformation of Cuban society overnight, but I’m
convinced with engagement we can more effectively stand up for our
values,” Obama said.
Source: U.S. and Cuba reach a deal to open embassies, renew diplomatic
ties | Miami Herald Miami Herald –