Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On The Opening Of The U.S. Embassy In Cuba

“It was a privilege for me to accompany the Secretary of State to Havana for the opening of the U.S. Embassy.  Seeing our flag raised again and hearing our national anthem was deeply moving – for me, and for the many Cubans who also witnessed this historic moment.  I credit President Obama and Secretary Kerry for getting us to this point, after 54 years of a failed policy that isolated the United States and did nothing to improve the lives of the Cuban people. 

“Opening an embassy is not a concession to a foreign government.  Nor is it credible to argue that by re-establishing relations, the U.S. is abandoning critics of the Cuban Government, or that we should wait until the Castros are gone.  If we only had embassies in countries whose governments we agree with, we would have to close half our embassies tomorrow.  Our embassy in Havana will enhance the ability of our diplomats and law enforcement officials to protect the interests of the United States in this hemisphere, defend our ideals and support the Cuban people who deserve better economic opportunities and greater freedom.”

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