News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Tues. July 20, 2015: The flag raised outside the elegant mansion Monday at 16th Street in Washington, DC waited for 54 years to be back up on the flagpole in front the building and on U.S. soil.
For the first time since 1961, the flag of the Caribbean nation of Cuba returned to flutter in Washington, D.C. much to the delight of many Cuban officials, especially Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.
Outside of the embassy which until recently had served only as the Cuba Interests Section at 2630 16th Street Northwest, Washington, D.C., in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, crowds of people cheered as the Cuban national anthem played and three Cuban soldiers stood at attention while the flag was raised.
July 20th marked the formal restoration of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba after an agreement struck last year ended decades of hostility and just after midnight, the diplomatic missions of each country became full embassies.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, r. and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez at a historic State Department Press Conference on July 20, 2015.
But a flag will not be raised at the American Embassy in Havana until U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pays a visit there on August 14th.
Still he did meet with Ambassador Rodriguez at the State Department Monday, marking the first visit to the Department of State by a Cuban foreign minister since 1958.
However, restrictions on Americans wanting to travel to Cuba remain in place, as does the wider US trade embargo banning most American companies from doing business in Cuba.
The US Congress would have to vote on lifting the embargo in order for full normalization to return.
Rodriguez made mention of this Monday at a press conference, insisting “that the totally lifting of the blockade, the return of the illegally occupied territory of Guantanamo, as well as the full respect for the Cuban sovereignty and the compensation to our people for human and economic damages are crucial to be able to move towards the normalization of relations.”