Jose Cabanas Becomes First Cuban Ambassador to US in 54 Years
Cuba has announced the appointment of Jose Cabanas as the new ambassador to the US – the first since 1961 – as part of the ongoing thaw in relations between the two countries.
Jose Ramon Cabanas is a veteran diplomat who has run Cuba’s “interests section” in Washington since 2012.
The diplomat was received at the White House with 15 other new diplomats from other countries.
Washington has yet to make an announcement about who will serve as its new ambassador in Cuba.
The announcement comes ahead of a visit to Cuba by Pope Francis and days before Cuban President Raul Castro goes to New York to address the United Nations.
Raul Castro’s visit will mark the first time a president of Cuba has publically set foot on American soil since 1995 when President Fidel Castro, his older brother, spoke before the UN.
In July 2015, Cuba and the US formally re-established their relations.
The process began publically when Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro announced simultaneously that they planned to set a new course on US-Cuba relations.
Soon after, the US traded three Cubans they had convicted on spying charges for Alan Gross, an American aid worker accused of espionage by a Cuban court.
Since then US and Cuban delegations have met several times to discuss a range of issues.
Jose Cabanas is a career diplomat trained in Havana. He served as vice minister of foreign relations and has occupied various high level posts in several countries.