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WASHINGTON, July 20./TASS/. The Cuban Embassy has been opened in Washington. Cuba’s national flag was hoisted in front of the building of Cuban Interest Section in the United States at 10:30 am sharp, local time (17:30 Moscow time), as two countries officially restored on Monday diplomatic relations after 54 years of confrontation.
The ceremony was accompanied by cheers from activists flocking to the building to mark this historical event. Dozens of cameras were focused on the embassy.
However, the ceremony was not without an incident A man, seemingly in protest against normalization of US-Cuban ties, poured red paint over himself and sat down on the asphalt. A splash of paint got on a police officer. The man was immediately detained.
The two countries have re-established diplomatic ties after severing them in 1961. After that only interest sections were operating in both capitals. In 1982, the United States put Cuba on its list of countries sponsoring terrorism with all ensuing sanctions, which prevented a return to embassy-level relations.
Washington maintained that Cuba was supporting radical anti-governmental groups in some Latin American countries, as well as Basque terrorists in Spain.
On April 14, President Barack Obama said in the Congress that he intended to remove Havana from the ‘black list’ as part of effort to normalize ties with Cuba. The decision was made three days after Obama met with his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro at the Summit of the Americas in Panama.
US Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Cuba on August 14 to take part in a ceremony to raise the US flag over the building of the US Embassy in the capital Havana, CNN reports.