U.S. Cuba Relations Are About To Change For the Better

June 30th 2015

Alex Mierjeski

On Wednesday, the U.S. and Cuba are expected to announce plans to reopen embassies in Washington and Havana for the first time in over 50 years CNN is reporting.

The move solidifies one of the last and latest steps in the mending of diplomatic relations between the countries, a process that began last December.

"We will formally announce tomorrow that the United States and Cuba have reached an agreement to re-establish formal diplomatic relations and open embassies in each other's capitals," a senior U.S. administration official told CNN on Tuesday. "We expect President Obama and Secretary Kerry to address this publicly tomorrow morning."

Earlier this month, the U.S. removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terror, following an April meeting between President Obama and Raul Castro in Panama that marked the first official meeting of leaders from each country since diplomatic ties fizzled out after the Cuban Revolution in the 1950s. A U.S. embargo is still in place, and the full normalization between the countries is a slow process due to some of Cuba's dubious human rights records, Reuters reports.

The announcement Tuesday garnered mixed reactions from U.S. politicians, the Associated Press noted. Politicians called the move towards full normalization between the countries either an empty one for the Cuban people, or a modern approach to U.S.-Cuban relations.

Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) said that an U.S. embassy in Cuba "will do nothing to help the Cuban people and is just another trivial attempt for President Obama to go legacy shopping." Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that the move was part of Obama's "common sense approach to Cuba," but said that the country must also address its human rights abuses. "Arrests and detentions of dissidents must cease and genuine political pluralism is long overdue," he continued.

U.S. officials are expected to make the announcement Wednesday morning, according to reports.