Much Has Happened For Both Countries
One year after the United States of America and Cuba resumed diplomatic relations, US Secretary of State John Kerry said both nations are much closer than they were before.
In a press statement in Washington DC, Secretary Kerry said a lot has happened one year after President Barack Obama proposed normalizing relations with Cuba.
For one, Secretary Kerry said, in the past, U.S.-Cuba dialogue was narrow, relatively sterile, and rare. But just recently, the dialogue for both countries has been comprehensive, businesslike, and routine.
He added that American diplomats and Cuban diplomats have sat down and talked productively about a wide range of matters, including civil aviation, mail deliveries, environmental issues, trafficking in illegal drugs, and other aspects of transnational crime.
“The results, in many areas, have been encouraging, though much work remains.” – Secretary Kerry
More Good News For Both Countries
According to Secretary Kerry, in 2015, authorized travel by U.S. citizens to Cuba increased by more than 50 percent over the previous year.
“We have further empowered a Cuban private sector that now employs at least one in four Cuban workers.” – Secretary Kerry
Also, the Government of Cuba signed a cellular telephone roaming agreement with a U.S. company that promotes the more open flow of information.
With this agreement in place, images of Cubans gathering around the country’s few WiFi hot spots to connect with family or friends around the world show a palpable desire to be more plugged in.
In addition, both countries have reached an understanding on the near-term expansion of flights between the United States and Cuba, to include scheduled service.
Through this arrangement, it will facilitate growth in authorized travel and enhance people-to-people links.
Both countries also agreed on a plan to re-establish direct postal service through the implementation of a pilot plan.
With regards to conservation, both countries signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on marine protected areas in Cuba, Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico and signed a joint statement on cooperation to protect the environment.
New Era, New Relationship With The People of Cuba
The transition is taking place because President Obama made a personal, fundamental decision to change a policy that didn’t work and that had been in place not working for far too long.
The US government believes that the resumption of embassy operations will advance the President’s vision of the Americas where responsibilities are widely shared and where countries combine their strengths to advance common interests and values.
The US also believes that this opening will help to change relationships in the region as a whole.
The Secretary of State highlighted that he looks forward to taking part in the reopening of the United States embassy and in the raising of the Stars and Stripes over that embassy, and the beginning of a new era of a new relationship with the people of Cuba.
Relations between the US and Cuba have long been strained. Since 1960, the US has maintained an economic embargo against Cuba.
The U.S. embargo was reinforced in October 1992 by the Cuban Democracy Act prohibiting foreign-based subsidiaries of U.S. companies from trading with Cuba, travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens, and family remittances to Cuba.