Today marks a new beginning in our nation’s relationship with Cuba, furthering a path that will engage and empower the Cuban people. While we may be separated by 90 miles of water, we are brought together through shared relationships and the desire to promote a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba. The opening of the embassies in Washington, D.C. and Havana culminate an important step in the normalization of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba. President Obama’s new approach towards Havana moves beyond decades of unsuccessful efforts to isolate Cuba, and is the continuation of a process designed to allow the Cuban people chart their own future. This will allow us to increase contact with the Cuban government and the Cuban people, helping us to contribute to the democratic development and prosperity of the country. To inaugurate the re-opening of the Cuban embassy in the United States, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez travelled to Washington and became the first Cuban official to visit the capital since 1959.