In a continuation of the normalizing of relations between the U.S. and Cuba since December, President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that the U.S. will re-establish an embassy in Havana.
“With this change, we will be able to substantially increase our contacts with the Cuban people,” Obama said in his prepared remarks.
The government of Cuba also announced that it will open an embassy in Washington, D.C.
Both embassies are scheduled to reopen sometime after July 20, according to NBC News.
The plans announced in December by Obama and Cuba President Raul Castro in December include some easing of certain types of travel (though not tourism), the raising of remittance levels and the reopening of relations between the two countries, which were severed in 1961. The changes did not include the lifting of the trade embargo that dates back to the Cold War.
Seattle groups in December applauded the changes, but said that the thaw doesn’t go far enough.