President Barack Obama won’t be naming an ambassador for the upcoming inauguration of the U.S. Embassy in Havana. When relations are officially re-established on July 20th, Chief of Mission Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the senior-most official at the embassy, will serve as Charge d’Affaires ad interim.
“Jeff DeLaurentis is on his third tour in Havana,” a Senior Official from the State Department told the press recently, “he knows a great deal about Cuba, has done an extraordinary job leading our mission so far. He will become the charge d’affaires when we have diplomatic relations, and he’ll lead our mission until we have an ambassador.”
Some Republicans have opposed the change of policy towards Cuba and have publically stated that they would block the confirmation of an ambassador.
The U.S. Government announced in a press release that the U.S. Embassy will continue to perform the existing functions of the U.S. Interests Section, including “consular services, operation of a political and economic section, implementation of a public diplomacy program, and will continue to promote respect for human rights.”
The new status of the American mission in Cuba will give diplomats from that country the opportunity to meet and exchange opinions with both government and nongovernment entities.
“Normalizing relations is a long, complex process that will require continued interaction and dialogue between our two governments, based on mutual respect,” the communiqué continued.
Although the announcement of the rapprochement has generated great expectations on improved U.S.-Cuba relations, major obstacle continue to exist, like the embargo and travel restrictions.
The document also makes clear that the U.S. administration has no plans to alter current migration policy, including the Cuban Adjustment Act.