On Wednesday, President Obama announced that the United States and Cuba have agreed to open embassies in Washington and Havana to formally reestablish diplomatic ties after more than 54 years of broken relations.
“This is a historic step forward in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people and begin a new chapter with our neighbors in the Americas,” Obama said.
“We don’t have to be imprisoned by the past,” he added. “When something isn’t working we can and will change.”
Obama said Secretary of State John Kerry will also be traveling to Havana later this summer to “proudly raise” the American flag over the new embassy.
Wednesday’s announcement, which follows last month’s move by the United States to remove Cuba from a list of states sponsoring terrorism, is another historic step in normalizing relations between the two countries. Shortly before the president’s press conference, the Foreign Ministry of Havana also announced that diplomatic ties with Washington would be fully restored by July 20.