Changes in Store as Cuba Embassy Set to Re-Open

The Cuba flag is set to fly over the nation's capital tomorrow for the first time in more than 50 years. And as with most U.S.-Cuba topics, the official embassy ceremony is a controversial moment.

Ildefonso Vasquez looks forward to the change.

"I think it's excellent," Vasquez said. "it's like opening new ways of communication."

But Juan Peña, a Cuban exile, disagrees with the move.

"It's a sad day and an infamy day," Peña said. "For President Obama to give a gift to the Castro regime."

A report aired on Cuban television shows the island nation's delegation arriving in Washington, D.C., over the weekend. Government officials, athletes, artists, and a reverend are part of the Cuban group who will be present to witness the formal re-establishment of relations.

"At long last, look: the old policy of refusing to dialogue gained us nothing," said Wayne Smith, the former Chief of Mission in Havana.

So what changes starting Monday? The Cuban interest section will now be the Cuban embassy, and American employees there will be reclassified as embassy employees. As for American diplomats in Cuba, state department officials say they will now have more freedom to travel throughout the island.

"There's still problems, but at least we are talking to one another," Smith said. "Trying to solve those problems that can be quickly and easily solved and then go on to the more difficult ones."

Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson who has been leading the talks is expected to be present at Monday's embassy ceremony, as well as the Chief of Mission in Havana, Jeffrey DeLaurentis.

Tune in to NBC 6 on Monday for live reports throughout the day from Washington, D.C.

Contact Us