Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) The red, white and blue flag of Cuba was raised at 10:35 this morning, July 20, 2015, at the Cuban Embassy here in Washington.
The embassy has been closed since diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba was severed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1961.
On December 17, 2014, however, President Barack Obama announced plans to re-open the Cuban embassy and ease restrictions on travel and trade with the communist nation.
This morning's ceremony was led by Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez who is visiting Washington, D.C. for the first time. The last visit by a Cuban diplomat was in September 1958. Fidel Castro visited the embassy the following year.
The limestone building which houses the embassy was built in 1917, but since 1971 has served as a Cuban interests section supervised by the Swiss. The embassy has been under renovation since 2010. Off the grand ballroom on the second floor is Hemingway's Bar where a six foot bronze reproduction of Ernest Hemingway's signature is displayed.
Cuba's ambassador Jose Ramon Cabanas said that he feels his country and the United States "are ready...to focus on (their) many links: poetry, science, baseball, jazz and....Hemingway."
Not everyone in the United States looks with favor on today's turn of events. Republican presidential candidate Senator Mark Rubio has said that if elected president he will close the embassy once again and end diplomatic relations with Cuba.
"Cuba to raise flag in Washington as embassy reopens after half a century," www.theguardian.com/
Ghosts of DC, www.facebook.com/GhostsofDC?fref=nf
"U.S. to start talks with Cuba to normalize ties," by Karen DeYoung and Brian Murphy, The Washington Post, www.washingtonpost.com
"With Hemingway there in spirit, Cuba prepares to reopen its embassy," by Elise Labott, July 19, 2015, www.cnn.com/