Hopes and concerns as Cuban flag flies over Washington

To chants of "Cuba si, embargo no," the Cuban flag was lifted atop the newly opened embassy in Washington, DC, for the first time in 54 years. Throngs of supporters, protestors, the media and the curious crowded the sidewalks that line the 16th street entrance to the embassy to witness the historic moment.

Scott, a local resident who lives close to the embassy, watched the flag being hoisted armed with a Cuban cigar. "I think it's great that there are so many people out here, I'm glad relations are improving, the embargo is such a relic of the Cold War."

Code Pink, an anti-war group that usually organizes protests, called for a celebration instead. Its members carried parasols that spelled out the word "amigos", Spanish for "friends". Diode, who was there to support the opening of the embassy, said she wanted to push for better U.S.-Cuban relations. "We know that's not happening today, there is still a blockade, there are still a lot of bans against Cuba," She said.

Not everyone was celebrating though. Aimel, a Cuban-American, said he was there to protest against ongoing human rights violations in Cuba. "I think as the U.S. negotiates with the Cuban regime it should not drop demands for fundamental human rights that it holds so dear to its heart", he said. Aimel derided chants of "Fidel the people are with you" that some of the attendants shouted out. "How do they know that? Cubans haven't voted in free elections since 1948?"

Viviana Delgado, another Cuban-American who brought her children with her to see the flag being raised, got teary eyed as she described her parents' journey from Cuba to the U.S. in 1960. "I'm not here with a political agenda, but to show my kids that change is possible and change will happen."

Caroline McKee and Joshua Mulvaney contributed to the video report

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46