The United States and Cuba restored full diplomatic relations just after 12 a.m. Monday after more than five decades of hostility.
A few hours later in the pre-dawn quiet, the red, white and blue Cuban flag was hoisted at the U.S. State Department, alongside the flags of the other countries that have diplomatic relations with the U.S.
The U.S. and Cuba each now have a full-fledged embassy in the other’s country.
The historic diplomatic shift comes 54 years after a diplomatic break that happened during U.S. President John Kennedy’s administration.
A short time later, Cuban officials, including Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, attended an opening celebration and flag raising at Cuba’s Washington embassy Monday. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson, who played a key role in the negotiations between the two countries, was also in attendance.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will formally receive Parrilla Monday. The two officials will hold a joint news conference later in the day.
The opening ceremony for the U.S. embassy in Cuba will be delayed until Kerry can travel to Havana and raise the U.S. flag, but the embassy will be fully functional in the meantime. The State Department says it will operate under the leadership of Charge d’Affairs Jeffrey Delaurentis.