Cuba. According to COUNTRYAAH, Havana is the capital of Cuba which is located in North America. Thawed relations with the United States marked much of the year in Cuba. After President Barack Obama declared on July 1 that the formal diplomatic relations between the countries, which had been interrupted since 1961, would be restored, the Cuban flag was hoisted at the newly opened Embassy in Washington on July 20. At the same time, Bruno Rodríguez visited the United States as the first Cuban foreign minister in 57 years. He reiterated Cuba’s demand to bring back Guantánamo, which the United States has been leasing since the early 1900s, while US Secretary of State John Kerry replied that Guantánamo is not on the political agenda. However, Kerry responded to Rodríguez’s visit with himself to Havana in mid-August. No official ambassadors were appointed, and politician Marco Rubio, himself the son of Cuban refugees and one of the Republican presidential candidates, explained that he opposed the appointment of an American ambassador to Havana. But both from an officially Cuban and American point of view, a firm intention was to move forward with diplomatic relations. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a prominent Cuban friend, also visited Havana during the year.
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The anti-Cuban lobby also seemed to be fighting the headwind of American opinion, which is strong for an approaching countries between. A July poll showed that 73% of Americans, including 56% of Republicans, support the ongoing diplomatic process. About the same number were for an end to the trade embargo against Cuba, something both President Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said. However, according to the Helms-Burton Act of 1996, the embargo can only be lifted by a resolution in Congress where the Republicans dominate, and after the Castro brothers leave power in Cuba, which probably only happens in 2018.
However, the diplomatic tone could still be crazy. At the inauguration of the US Embassy in Havana, Secretary of State Kerry said that Cuba must do something about human rights violations and the lack of fundamental freedoms, to which his Cuban counterpart Rodríguez replied that it was not in the territory covered by Cuban law such as torture and legal limbo insinuation against the American detention camp in Guantánamo.
Among prominent visitors during the year was also noticed Pope Francis, who played a crucial role in restoring relations between Cuba and the United States. In his September visit, he criticized in disguised terms the human rights situation and the lack of political transparency.