By Patrice Harris
Orginally Published on Talk Radio News Service on July 20th 2015
(TRNS)- The Cuban flag was raised in Washington, D.C. Monday outside the newly opened Cuban embassy, a move that drew praise from those who gathered to witness the historic moment.
Read more:U.S., Cuba Opening Embassies
President Obama announced earlier this month his commitment to further normalizing the diplomatic relations and finding new ways to work with the once estranged communist state, including opening embassies for the respective countries.
After over five decades of stalled relations following the rise communist regime in Cuba, the Cuban flag was raised at approximately 10:15am on Monday morning.
A number of Cuban Americans and activists from the peace and social justice movement Code Pink gathered outside the embassy congratulating both President Barack Obama and Cuba’s Raul Castro for their work to foster diplomatic relations.
Code Pink member Tighe Berry said he knew the U.S. would soon work to restore ties with Cuba.
“I was sure it was going to come at sometime but I am very pleased to know that it was this president who did it. It is very important,” said Berry. “Cuba is a majority Afro-Cuban country and it says a great deal about Barack Obama, that he was be able to strike up this friendship with Raul Castro, put aside our differences, and go forward. What we did in the past was not worth it.”
According to Berry, the U.S. needs to “work with the Cuban government but not tell it what to do.”
Meanwhile, anti-Castro Cubans and human rights activists applauded the embassy’s opening but called on the Cuban government to rid its totalitarian status.
The human rights activists said that they hoped that the U.S. would help Cuba to deal with human rights injustices in the country including homosexuality, religious communities, freedom of the press, LGBTQ rights, and democracy.
“This is not about favoring the embargo or against the embargo, this is about striving for our human rights,” exclaimed Orlando Luis Pardo, an anti-Castro advocate. “I hope the American government is really aggressive in terms of human rights, America has been aggressive with many other issues. [America] must be real aggressive with the democratization of Latin American countries.”
“Today, it’s not that communism is going to end but at least there is open communication and a possibility for major change between the two countries,” said Viviana Delgado, another anti-Castro demonstrator. “I am here in memory of my father.”