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Obama Appoints First US Ambassador to Cuba in Over 50 Years

© REUTERS / Ivan AlvaradoUS and Cuban flags are seen on a balcony in Havana, Cuba March 19, 2016.
US and Cuban flags are seen on a balcony in Havana, Cuba March 19, 2016. - Sputnik International
President Barack Obama appointed Jeffrey DeLaurentis to be the first US Ambassador to Cuba in more than 50 years, the White House said in a press release.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — "Today, I am proud to nominate Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis to be the first US Ambassador to Cuba in more than 50 years," the release quoted Obama as saying on Tuesday. "Jeff’s leadership has been vital throughout the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba."

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DeLaurentis has served as Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Havana and was previously Chief of Mission at the US Interests Section in Havana, the release noted.

In December 2014, Obama announced the United States would normalize relations with Cuba after more than 50 years of non-engagement and hostilities.

While the two countries reopened embassies in their respective capitals in July 2015, the congressionally-mandated US trade embargo continues to remain in effect.

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