Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez says the historic restoration of U.S.-Cuba relations will only make sense if the United States lifts its comprehensive trade embargo and returns to Cuba the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said on Monday (July 20) the historic restoration of U.S.-Cuba relations will only make sense if the United States lifts its comprehensive trade embargo and returns to Cuba the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay in eastern Cuba. "The historic events we are living today will only make sense with the removal of the economic, commercial and financial blockade, which causes so much deprivation and damage to our people, the return of occupied territory in Guantanamo, and respect for the sovereignty of Cuba," Rodriguez said from the newly rechristened Cuban Embassy in Washington shortly after the Cuban flag was raised outside for the first time in 54 years. Rodriguez presided over the reinauguration of the embassy, a milestone in the diplomatic thaw that began with a breakthrough announcement by U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro on Dec. 17. The U.S. Embassy in Havana was also officially reopened for business. But the Stars and Stripes will not be hoisted there until a visit by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expected next month. Without fanfare in the pre-dawn hours, maintenance workers also hung the Cuban flag in the lobby of the U.S. State Department, where it joined the banners of other countries with which the United States has diplomatic relations. Serious differences remain between the United States and Communist-ruled Cuba, and efforts toward full normalization of ties are expected to proceed slowly for now. But the steps that officially took effect on Monday carried enormous symbolism after more than two years of initially secret negotiations between governments that had long shunned each other.