John Kerry leads delegation to Cuba for flag raising at U.S. Embassy

By Jill Replogle

HAVANA, Cuba — The American flag was raised Friday over the U.S. Embassy in Havana beside the three Marines who last lowered the Stars and Stripes more than a half-century ago in a day of history-making symbolism as more Cold War vestiges were put to rest.

But the ceremonies led by Secretary of State John Kerry also underscored some of the significant differences as the two countries move ahead with their groundbreaking diplomatic thaw.

Kerry’s meetings in Cuba will include political activists — barred from the embassy event — who hope the new openings with Washington will offer more room for opposition voices on the island.

Kerry — the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Cuba since the Franklin Roosevelt administration — also used his embassy address to directly challenge Cuba’s leaders by urging for “genuine democracy” and improvements in Cuba’s human rights record.

“As two peoples who are no longer enemies or rivals, but neighbors,” Kerry said in English and Spanish.”[It is] time to unfurl our flags, raise them up, and let the world know that we wish each other well.”

Minutes later, the Marines who lowered the flag in 1961 — then Sgt. Jim Tracy, then-Lance Cpl. Larry C. Morris and then-Cpl. F.W. … continue reading

Via:: Tico Times