Kerry Reopens Embassy in Havana

Kerry Reopens Embassy in HavanaKerry Reopens Embassy in Havana

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Cuba on Friday to raise the American flag above the US Embassy in Havana for the first time in 54 years, marking the symbolic end of one of the last vestiges of the Cold War.

The US flag had not flown over the glass-and-concrete building on the Havana waterfront since January 3, 1961, the day US severed ties with Cuba at the height of the Cold War, AFP reported. Kerry became the first US Secretary of State to visit Cuba in 70 years. Cuba reopened its embassy in Washington last month.

He was accompanied by a number of US lawmakers who have advocated normalizing diplomatic and economic relations with the island. Meanwhile on Thursday, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro wrote an open letter in which he said the US owed Cuba millions of dollars because of its trade embargo. The embargo, imposed 53 years ago, has yet to be lifted.

 “Cuba is owed compensation equivalent to damages, which total many millions of dollars, as our country has stated with irrefutable arguments and data in all of its speeches at the United Nations,” Castro said, making no mention of the reopening of the US Embassy in his letter.