Cuba, US reopen embassies, Cuba demands end to blockade

July 5, 2015

Havana, Cuba, July 1.

The US and Cuban governments announced on July 1 the official restoration of formal diplomatic ties by reopening embassies in each country.

The two countries will open embassies as of July 20. The respective US and Cuban special interest sections, which function as diplomatic delegations, will be upgraded to embassies, with ambassadors soon to be appointed.

In a statement released on July 1, Cuba’s foreign ministry called for the US to lift the blockade on the island, saying that normalisation of relations hinge on it.

“There can be no normal relations between Cuba and the United States as long as the economic, commercial and financial blockade that is applied rigorously continues, causing harm to the Cuban people,” the statement said.

“(It) is the main obstacle to our economic development, a violation of international law and something that affects the interests of all countries, including the United States.”

In a speech that day, US President Barack Obama said the US would “find more ways to cooperate with Cuba”. The president said there are people from the US who want to travel and do business with Cuba, “people want to get to know their neighbours to the south … this is a choice between the future and the past”.

He said people from the US and Cubans were “ready to move forward” and argued it was time for the US congress to “do the same” and end the blockade on Cuba, an “approach which hasn’t worked”.

[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]

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