It was only eight months ago, on December 17, that presidents Castro and Obama revealed — to almost everyone else’s surprise — that their governments, after more than a year of secret negotiations, had reached agreement to end a half-century of hostility and restore normal relations. Since their December announcement, the US and Cuba have succeeded in restore full diplomatic ties. For first time since 1961, the Cuban flag flies over the country’s embassy in Washington and the American banner over the US embassy in Havana.
The first phase of reconciliation has been successfully completed. Negotiations between US and Cuban officials were conducted professionally and demonstrated considerable good will on both sides. Although mistrust and suspicion still permeate the relationship, the US and Cuba have so far complied with their commitments to one another and have built up a degree of mutual respect in the process. What has been especially noteworthy and surprising is how limited the opposition has been, in both Washington and Havana, to the reconciliation effort.