After the long span of 54 years, US marines raised the US flag over the reopened American embassy in Cuba on 14 August.
Secretary of state John Kerry made a call for democratic change on the Cuban island which has been ruled by a single party for more than five decades.
Hundreds of Cubans, who had gathered outside, cheered as Kerry spoke.
“We remain convinced the people of Cuba would be best served by a genuine democracy, where people are free to choose their leaders, express their ideas, practice their faith,” Kerry said, unfurling the US flag after it was brought down in 1961.
He also said that a longtime US strategy of trying to isolate Cuba and provoke regime change by choking off trade and finance through the embargo and fomenting grass-roots agitation had failed.
“The policies of the past have not led to a democratic transition here in Cuba. It would be equally unrealistic to expect normalizing relations to have a transformative impact in the short term,” he said, adding, “Cuba’s future is for Cubans to shape.”
Diplomats now will launch the next phase of detente: expanding economic ties between the two nations with measures like re-establishing direct flights and mail service.