WASHINGTON D.C. —
The United States and Cuba restored full diplomatic relations Monday after more than five decades of hostility.
The red, white and blue Cuban flag was hoisted at the U.S. State Department, alongside the flags of the other countries that have diplomatic relations with the U.S.
Zimbabwean political commentator, Charles Mangongera, said the development is significant, not only for the people of Cuba but citizens of countries like Zimbabwe that do not enjoy cordial relations with the United States and the West.
Zimbabwean political commentator, Charles Mangongera, said the development is significant, not only for the people of Cuba.
“For a country like Zimbabwe, which in the past has tended to structure its international relations on the basis of old ideological underpinnings, in particular, references to Cold War differences between the US and the West and Russia and other countries,” he said, “I think this is significant in the sense that shows that the world is moving on, things are changing, old rivalries are disappearing and new friendships are developing.”
The historic diplomatic shift between the U.S. and Cuba comes 54 years after a diplomatic break that happened during U.S. President John Kennedy's administration.
Zimbabwe and the U.S. have had frosty relations over the past decade with America alleging President Robert Mugabe’s government was rigging elections and failing to respect people’s rights.
Mangongera says at some stage things will have to change.
“So for Zimbabwe to continue with its clenched fist approach to international relations where we pick and choose friends and say we are friends with so and so and so so and so – that is not going to help, even if you look at China; you say China is our best friend but China is doing business with the West,” Mangongera said.
Cuban officials, including Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, attended an opening celebration at Cuba's Washington embassy Monday, a move Mangongera said is possible if Zimbabwe changes the way it does its business.
The opening ceremony for the U.S. embassy in Cuba will be delayed until Foreign Secretary John Kerry can travel to Havana and raise the U.S. flag, but the embassy will be fully functional in the meantime.