José Ramón Rodríguez Cabañas became Cuba’s first ambassador to the United States since 1961, on Thursday, Sept. 17.
Cabañas had been in charge of the Interests Section, which served as Cuba’s de facto embassy, since 2012 and then became charge d’affaires when relations were formally restored on July 20. The new ambassador presented his credentials to President Barack Obama, and as reported by an embassy statement, “The ceremony took place at the White House Oval Office, the venue of the presidential office, in the midst of a day when the U.S. leader received 16 new ambassadors.”
During the meeting Obama and Cabañas discussed the state of bilateral relations.
“The Cuban ambassador’s accreditation to the United States is a further step within the process to normalize relations between both countries,” added the embassy statement.
The United States and Cuba reestablished diplomatic relations last July 20, when the Cuban embassy was reopened in Washington, D.C.
Washington has yet to name an ambassador to Cuba.
[Photo at top of President Obama with Ambassador Cabañas in the Oval Office.]