Cuban flag raised at embassy in Washington

(REUTERS) – The Cuban flag was raised at Havana’s embassy in Washington, DC, at 10:30 a.m. (1430 GMT) for the first time in 54 years on Monday (July 20).

The United States and Cuba quietly ushered in a new era of post-Cold War relations, formally restoring diplomatic ties severed more than five decades ago and re-establishing embassies in each other’s capitals.

The symbolic event will be followed by a meeting at the State Department between Secretary of State John Kerry and Rodriguez, the first Cuban foreign minister on an official visit to Washington since the 1959 Cuban Revolution.

Even before the Cubans held their ceremony, the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, long serving as Washington’s de facto diplomatic post there, issued a statement announcing that on Monday it “officially became U.S. Embassy Havana.”

But no American flag will fly there until a visit by Kerry expected next month. “We wanted the Secretary to be there to oversee these important events,” a State Department official said.