By Carlos A. Quiroga

The image of the waving flag of Cuba in Washington Monday morning reached all corners of the world as a symbol of the disappearance of one of the last vestiges of the Cold War.

The reopening ceremony of the Cuban Embassy re-established diplomatic relations after 54 years of estrangement between the United States and the small island ruled by Communists.

Even after the Cold War symbol was brought down, the changes occurred in the relationship between dissimilar neighbors, separated only by a hundred miles of sea, remains unclear.

However, there are still voices of discontent in American political leadership, with several Republican presidential candidates promising not to make further advancements in the normalization of relations.

But the mere reopening of embassies occurred on Monday confirmed that for Washington, Cuba’s isolation did not reach its main objective: to overthrow the regime of Fidel and Raul Castro and their influence over several Latin American leaders.

The United States expects politics to be democratized and economies to be “improved”, that is, to cease all persecution of dissidents, open the market to free exchange and facilitate private investments.

Cuba was not far behind in the presentation of its list of tasks that the United States should accomplish in the short-term. The island requests the end of the economic embargo, a compensation for the effects of the blockade and the «return» of the Guantanamo, the eastern portion of the island transferred over a century ago to the US, and infamous as a prison for suspected terrorists.

The reopening of embassies was applauded worldwide, though perhaps with less enthusiasm in Miami, where the blockade on Cuba has been for over half a century the raison d’etre of political and economic affairs of many Cuban exiles.

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