Top US and Cuban diplomats spar after flag raising at US Embassy in Havana – Los Angeles Times

U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry called for a “genuine democracy” in Cuba on Friday as the American flag was raised here for the first time in more than half a century, formally reopening the U.S. Embassy and beginning what the Obama administration hopes will be an era of political reform for the island nation.

Leading a solemn ceremony outside the high-rise embassy on Havana’s waterfront, Kerry recounted decades of tense U.S.-Cuba relations. The “harsh words, the provocative and retaliatory actions, the human tragedies … diminished our common humanity,” he said.

Kerry urged Cuba’s repressive government to allow greater human rights and political freedoms, a message unlikely to appease critics of the diplomatic detente — especially since Kerry also called it “unrealistic” to expect the diplomatic opening to have a “transformative impact in the short run.”

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