July 1, 2015
Washington, D.C.—Today, the Obama administration is expected to announce an agreement between the United States and Cuba to open foreign embassies in Washington and Havana, a historic and long overdue step, according to the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a research and advocacy group that worked for this moment for over two decades.
“After working on this issue for twenty years, I sometimes have to stop and do a reality check to be sure it's really happening. After years of what felt like pounding on a brick wall, it's both gratifying and amazing to see common sense finally prevail in U.S. policy towards Cuba,” said Geoff Thale, WOLA’s Director of Programs. "This announcement is a positive step for the United States and the hemisphere. It's a long overdue policy change, and opens up the prospects for practical collaboration while allowing us to discuss our differences in a serious way,” he said.
In addition, Marc Hanson, Senior Associate for Cuba, said: “Establishing a U.S. embassy in Cuba is clearly in the U.S. economic, security, and foreign policy interest. When historians look back, they will mostly wonder why it took so long.”
This announcement comes in the wake of Cuba’s removal from the list of state sponsors of terrorism earlier this year and the historic Summit of the Americas in which President Obama and Castro met face-to-face.
“Though Congress still needs to remove the embargo on trade and travel to Cuba, this announcement is historic and the result of President Obama’s deeper process of updating U.S. policy towards Cuba for the 21st century,” said Thale.