Monday, July 6, 2015

#Obama Administarion: July 20 Official Date for Normalizing Relations with #Cuba

On July 1st President Obama announced his intentions to re-establish diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States of America, effective July 20.

The U.S. Department of State has also notified Congress it will convert the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, Cuba to U.S. Embassy Havana, effective on the same date. 

On July 1, the U.S. and Cuban Interests Sections exchanged presidential letters declaring mutual intent to re-establish diplomatic relations and re-open embassies on July 20, 2015.

According to President Obama the U.S. and Cuba have agreed to develop “respectful and cooperative” relations based on international principles, including the promotion and encouragement of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.

The duties of the U.S. Embassy will continue to include the same functions as those of the U.S. Interests Section, including consular services, operation of a political and economic section, implementation of a public diplomacy program, and will continue to "promote respect for human rights."

According to the Obama Administration the U.S. Embassy in Havana will operate like other embassies in restrictive societies around the world, and will operate "in sync with our values and the President’s policy."

"Normalizing relations is a long, complex process that will require continued interaction and dialogue between our two governments, based on mutual respect. We will have areas of cooperation with the Cubans, and we will continue to have differences. Where we have differences, deeper engagement via diplomatic relations will allow us to articulate those differences clearly, directly, and when appropriate, publicly. Throughout our diplomatic engagement, the United States will remain focused on empowering the Cuban people and supporting the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba."

Travel restrictions and the embargo on Cuba are still in effect and the Administration has no plans to alter current migration policy, including the Cuban Adjustment Act.

U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control will continue to administer the regulations that provide general licenses for the 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba.