Feature:Cubans welcome flag-raising at U.S. Embassy, skeptical of future change

Cubans welcome flag-raising at U.S. Embassy, skeptical of future change

As the U.S. flag was raised on August 14 at its embassy in Havana for the first time in 54 years, the Cubans welcomed the step foreward for the bilateral ties, but remained skeptical of changes in the future.

(Soundbite) Erik, Cuban Citizen
“Well, actually the Cuban people have great joy, because there are a large percentage of Cubans who have relatives in the U.S. and depend on them for livelihood. For years they have not seen each other. With the normalization of relations, we think it possible for the families to get closer to each other.”

(Soundbite) Arthur, Cuban Citizen
“I think that change will come with the effervescence. It is equally positive for the Cubans living in the U.S. and us living here. It is a very smart move.”

Cuba and the United States started the restoration of ties in December, which was finally realized on July 1 after four rounds of senior-level negotiations.

(Soundbite) Arthur, Cuban Citizen
“I think that it was time for the relations to be restored. There are two reasons. First, Cuba has always been supportive and positive to re-establish relationships. Second, Cuba does not involve in wars in the world. Instead, Cuba helps the world and other countries despite being poor.”

During his speech at the flag-raising ceremony, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for “genuine democracy” in Cuba and insisted that Cubans should be free to choose their own leaders.
Kerry’s comments were boradcast live throughout Cuba and triggered off nods as well as wide skepticism.

(Soundbite) Arthur, Cuban Citizen
“It has been the first time in 70 years that a U.S. personality like Kerry visited Cuba. His visit is important. It is a synonym for establishing link and respect between countries.”

(Soundbite) Gustavo, Cuban Citizen
“I think it is quite normal. The improvement is at the state level, with good conversations. But it will be a long process for the plan to be materialized, only if the attitudes of both governments should be respected.”

Both countries decided to re-start negotiations in September for pending issues, like the return of Guantanamo to Cuba, end of the U.S. trade embargo, and the U.S. insistence on Cuba’s respect for human rights.
The long and tough talks ahead just worried the Cubans

(Soundbite) Erik, Cuban Citizen
“We now only expect to improve relations, and hopefully to advance and consolidate the benefits a little more for Cuba. It also depends on the presidential elections to be held in the U.S. The elections are important, because the candidate that comes out winning is to have his own point of view on these things.”

The United States severed its ties with Cuba in 1961, after Fidel Castro ousted the U.S.-back regime and took power in 1959.

Leave a Comment