Politics

U.S., Cuba Restore Full Diplomatic Relations After 50 Years

| by Sean Kelly

After five decades, the United States and Cuba restored full diplomatic relations on Monday.

An agreement between the countries, which was announced on Dec. 17, 2014, went into full effect just after midnight, and it abruptly put an end to the longstanding separation that began in 1961, CNN reported.

“It's a historic moment,” Cuban diplomat Carlos Alzugaray said. “The significance of opening the embassies is that trust and respect that you can see, both sides treating the other with trust and respect. That doesn't mean there aren't going to be conflicts — there are bound to be conflicts — but the way that you treat the conflict has completely changed."

The exact date that relations would resume was delayed several times, pending the removal of Cuba from the United States’ list of terrorism sponsors, and the issue of U.S. diplomats’ access to Cuban citizens. The issues were resolved on July 1, and a date of July 20 was set for ties to be fully restored, according to the Associated Press.

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In the symbolic recognition of the moment, the U.S. hung a Cuban flag in State Department alongside the other nations which the U.S. has diplomatic relation with.

As a result of the restored relations, the U.S. Interests Section in Havana will upgrade to embassy status, and the Cuban Interests Section in Washington will take similar steps. The latter reportedly changed its Twitter account to say “embassy” on Monday following the implementation of the agreement.

“Just made first phone call to State Dept. Ops Center from United States Embassy Havana ever. It didn't exist in Jan 1961,” Conrad Tribble, deputy chief of mission for the United States in Havana, wrote on Twitter.

Sources: Associated Press, CNN

Photo credit: Ben Kucinski/Flickr, CNN