The three retired U.S. Marines who lowered the flag at the American embassy here in 1961 watched as the Stars and Stripes rose once again Friday over the seven-story building alongside Havana’s seaside Malecon boulevard.
In remarks at the embassy Friday, Mr. Kerry stressed the decades separating the U.S. and Cuba from the events that caused the countries to sever ties over 50 years ago.
“For more than half a century, U.S.-Cuban relations have been suspended in the amber of Cold War politics,” Mr. Kerry said, according to a prepared version of his remarks. “In the interim, a whole generation of Americans and Cubans have grown up and grown old. The United States has had 10 new presidents. In a united Germany, the Berlin Wall is a fading memory.”
Mr. Kerry said the U.S. policy in Cuba had not led to a democratic transition in Cuba and added the new course will make it easier for the governments to engage.
“Having normal relations makes it easier for us to talk—and talk can deepen understanding even when we know full well that we will not always see eye-to-eye on everything,” Mr. Kerry said. “We are all aware that, that notwithstanding President Obama’s new policy, the overall U.S. embargo on trade with Cuba remains in place and can only be lifted by congressional action—a step we strongly favor.”
Read more: The Wall Street Journal