In yet another step towards building more normal and productive relationship with Cuba, the U.S. appointed its first ambassador to the communist nation in more than five decades. President Barack Obama, who nominated career diplomat Jeffrey DeLaurentis for the role on Tuesday, may face resistance from some Republicans, who are opposed to the president’s cozying up with Cuba.
Obama said that despite differences with the Cuban government, the presence of an ambassador will make it easier to advocate America’s interest, reports Al Jazeera. The announcement comes after the two countries restored full diplomatic relations in 2015, which was followed by some “unthinkable steps” to mend the severely strained bilateral ties.
Earlier in March, Obama made a historic visit to Cuba, the first by a U.S. president in 88 years, writes Reuters. Obama has been using his executive powers to ease trade and travel restrictions on Cuba while pushing the communist island to bring reforms in its political and economic apparatus.
The U.S. embargo on Cuba still remains in place and can only be lifted after an approval by Congress, which is highly unlikely in near future as the Republican leadership is strongly averse to the idea.