President Barack Obama has now appointed the first U.S ambassador to Cuba in over 50 years. Foreign Service officer Jeffrey DeLaurentis was chosen to fulfill the role on Tuesday, and his appointment is awaiting approval from the senate.
Obama released a statement about the decision.
“Jeff’s leadership has been vital throughout the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, and the appointment of an ambassador is a common sense step forward toward a more normal and productive relationship between our two countries.
“Having an ambassador will make it easier to advocate for our interests, and will deepen our understanding even when we know that we will continue to have differences with the Cuban government. He is exactly the type of person we want to represent the United States in Cuba, and we only hurt ourselves by not being represented by an ambassador.”
Republican Senator Marco Rubio says the “nomination should go nowhere” until the political regimes change in Cuba, but the White House feels that nominating an ambassador is one of the key steps to get the ball rolling in that direction.
Over the summer we saw the start of direct commercial flights between the two countries, which was a significant step in the changing relations.