Kerry’s Visit to Cuba Closes Phase of Restoration of Relations

Havana, Aug 13 (Prensa Latina) The visit tomorrow of U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, the first official of that level to arrive in Cuba in 70 years, revives the international attention on the new course of bilateral ties.

Both countries restored diplomatic relations on July 20 and their respective interests sections, operating since 1977, became embassies.

Prensa Latina offers below some of the most important events that set standards in relations between the two countries in the last eight months:

2014

December 17: Cuban President Raul Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama announced in public appearances together the decision to restore diplomatic relations between the two nations.

December 20: During the closing ceremony of the Parliament sessions in Havana, President Raul Castro urges the U.S. Executive to use its powers to modify the application of the economic blockade.

2015

January 16: Partial amendments from the U.S. Departments of Treasury and Commerce to unilateral sanctions come into force, but the laws holding the blockade remain intact.

January 20: During the speech on the state of the Union, President Obama calls on the Congress to end this year the embargo on the Caribbean country.

January 21: The 28th round of immigration talks between Cuba and the United States takes place, where the course of agreements and actions to confront illegal immigration is assessed.

January 22: Talks chaired by Director General of United States department at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Josefina Vidal, and Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta Jacobson, takes place in Havana.

January 29: Some eight U.S. senators present a bipartisan bill to authorize U.S. citizens can travel to the Caribbean nation.

February 12: A bipartisan coalition introduces a bill in the Congress to eliminate the blockade on Cuba.

March 31: The dialogue on human rights issues between Cuba and the United States takes place in Washington DC.

April 11: Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama hold a meeting in Panama City during the Seventh Summit of the Americas.

April 14: Obama notifies the Congress the decision to exclude Cuba from the list of countries that according to Washington sponsor terrorism.

May 20: During a congressional hearing, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta Jacobson, urges the U.S. Congress to lift the economic blockade on Cuba.

May 21-22: The Department of State, in Washington, welcomed the third Cuba-U.S. round of talks. May 29: The Department of State officially announced Cuba’s removal of the unilateral list of countries that sponsor terrorism.

July 1: Cuban President, Raul Castro, sent a letter to Obama in which he agrees to open diplomatic missions on July 20. In turn, the U.S. statesman confirms the decision to restore diplomatic relations and open embassies as of the mentioned date.

Obama spoke from the White House on the issue and asked the Congress to work to lift the blockade on the Caribbean nation.

A statement by the Cuban government states that “with the restoration of diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies, the first phase of what will be a long and complex process towards the normalization of bilateral ties concludes.”

July 20: The Cuban flag was hoisted at the island’s embassy in Washington D.C., a few hours after the official restoration of diplomatic ties.

The solemn ceremony was headed by Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez, who met some hours after with his U.S. peer, John Kerry, at the headquarters of the Department of State.

July 31: The democratic frontrunner of the 2016 presidential elections in the United States, Hillary Clinton, asked the Congress in Miami, Florida, to lift the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba since 1962.

August 3: The measures applied against Cuba by different U.S. administrations remain frozen in time and it is time to change them, says an editorial from The New York Times: “Growing Momentum to Repeal Cuban Embargo.”

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