President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry will announce Wednesday that the United States and Cuba have agreed to open embassies in Havana and Washington, multiple outlets reported Tuesday.
— News Service (@RealTimeHack) June 30, 2015
The is the latest step by the Obama administration to normalize relations with the communist island nation just 90 miles off the gulf coast of Florida. President Obama first stated his intent to reach out to Cuba in December. Another step was taken in May by the State Department when Cuba was removed from the list of state sponsors of terror.
The Associated Press pointed out what is at stake for the Obama administration politically:
For Obama, ending Washington’s half-century freeze with Cuba is seen as a major element of his foreign policy legacy. He has long touted the value of engagement and argued that the U.S. embargo on the communist island just 90 miles south of Florida was ineffective.
The last time there were diplomatic ties between the two nations was in 1961, when Fidel Castro’s communist party seized power in Cuba, noted BBC News. The news outlet also reported that there were plans to resume ferry and flight services between the two countries.
Already, criticism for the plan is mounting. “There was little doubt that the Obama administration would pursue its goal of opening an embassy in Cuba no matter the sad reality on the ground,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., told The Hill Tuesday. Ros-Lehtinen is a Cuban-American who represents parts of the Miami area.
Opening the American embassy in Cuba will do nothing to help the Cuban people and is just another trivial attempt for President Obama to go legacy shopping.
What do you think of the plan by Obama and Kerry? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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