As the US and Cuba have officially resumed full diplomatic relations, the State Department marked the occasion by raising the country’s flag in the lobby of its offices.
The flag went up “without ceremony in the predawn hours,” according to the Associated Press.
The government’s Defence Video and Imagery Distribution System released a video of a maintenance staffer raising the flag:
Here’s the moment it went up:
This is one step toward normalizing relations with the communist country after more than 50 years of restrictions.
Officials have also raised the flag at the Cuban embassy in DC:
A photo posted by Jon Williams (@foreigneditor) on Jul 20, 2015 at 7:49am PDT
The flag is the same one that was taken down 54 years ago, according to ABC News Foreign Editor Jon Williams. Cuba Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said the flag was kept safe in Florida knowing this day would come.
Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Havana next month to formally open the US embassy there. The US Interests Section in Cuba became US Embassy Havana on Monday, the State Department said.
The US and Cuba severed ties in 1961 in the heat of the Cold War.
Since relations between the two countries thawed, travel restrictions have been loosened and US Agency for International Development contractor Alan Gross was released from Cuban prison. The US also took Cuba off its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
July 20 was the established date for resuming full diplomatic ties.
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