On January 3, 1961, three United States marines stepped outside the Cuban Embassy in Havana to lower the American flag. This act carried momentous implications. The flag was never raised again. Earlier that day, President Dwight Eisenhower officially closed the embassy and cut formal diplomatic ties with the island nation amidst mounting tensions with the new revolutionary government led by Fidel Castro.
The empty flagpole has stood alongside what had become the U.S. Interest Section as a subtle reminder of the broken ties between Cold War foes. When the embassy closed, many, President Eisenhower included, did not expect the freeze in relations to last as long as it did. “It is my hope and my conviction,” Eisenhower said on January 3, 1961 “that in the not too distant future it will be possible for the historic friendship between us once again to find its reflection in normal relations of every sort.” Today, 54 years later, those same marines accompanied Secretary of State John Kerry and other U.S. delegates to see Old Glory rise on the Havana waterfront once again.
Following a courageous decision by the Obama Administration to rejoin relations broken long ago, Secretary Kerry traveled to Cuba to personally … continue reading