In the time of Obama, enemies are treated as friends, friends he treats as enemies.
President Barack Obama will announce Wednesday that the U.S. and Cuba have finalized an agreement to reopen embassies in each other’s capitals, a major step in ending hostilities between the Cold War foes, a senior administration official said.
The U.S. and Cuba have been negotiating the reestablishment of embassies following the historic December announcement that they would move to restore ties after a half-century of animosity.
For Obama, ending the U.S. freeze with Cuba is central to his foreign policy legacy as he nears the end of his presidency. Obama has long touted the value of direct engagement with global foes and has argued that the U.S. embargo on the communist island just 90 miles south of Florida was ineffective.
The official insisted on anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter ahead of the president.
President Obama announced Wednesday the U.S. and Cuba have reached a deal to re-establish full diplomatic ties and open embassies that were shuttered five decades ago.
“This is a historic step in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and the Cuban people,” said Obama, who added that when the embassy was shuttered a half-century ago few would have thought it would have remained closed for so long.
Obama said Secretary of State John Kerry will be in Cuba on July 20 to open the U.S. embassy.
The move is the biggest step yet in Obama’s push to end hostilities with Havana that date back to the Cold War, which he announced in December with Cuban President Raúl Castro.
The Obama administration cleared the biggest obstacle to the shift after it formally dropped Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism in May.