Statement on the Opening of U.S. and Cuban Embassies

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Opening of the Embassy of the United States of America in Havana, Cuba, and the Opening of the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C.

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
July 20, 2015

The United States welcomes today’s historic opening of the Embassy of the United States of America in Havana, Cuba, and the opening of the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Today’s openings are the result of respectful dialogue between the United States and the Republic of Cuba following the December 17 announcements by President Obama and President Raul Castro to reestablish diplomatic relations between our two nations.  This is yet another demonstration that we don’t have to be imprisoned by the past. We look forward to working collaboratively to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people after more than half a century of discord.  Beginning today, our diplomats in Havana will have the ability to engage more broadly across the island of Cuba, with the Cuban government, civil society and ordinary Cubans. We look forward to collaborating with the Cuban government on issues of common interest, including counterterrorism and disaster response.  And we are confident that the best way to advance universal values like freedom of speech and assembly is through more engagement with the Cuban people.

Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson is leading the State Department delegation at the opening ceremony at the Cuban Embassy today.  The White House will be represented by Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Benjamin J. Rhodes and National Security Council Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs Mark Feierstein.