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The U.S. Just Reopened An Embassy In Cuba After More Than 50 Years

For the first time in a half century, the American flag is flying over Havana.

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Speaking before the flag was raised, Kerry noted that the time between the embassy's closure and its reopening spanned 10 presidents, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the rise of democracies in Central Europe, and normalization in relations with Vietnam.

The "United States will always remain a champion of democratic reforms," Kerry said, adding he believed "it will be helpful for our peoples to meet each other, to learn about each other." Already tourism in Cuba had risen 35% since January, Kerry said.

The secretary of state called for further congressional action to fully lift the Cuban embargo, in place since Fidel Castro first came to power. "For now President Obama has taken steps to ease restrictions ... but we want to go further," Kerry said, adding "the goal of all of these changes is to help Cubans."

Hayes Brown is a world news editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Hayes Brown at hayes.brown@buzzfeed.com.

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