Obama nominates first US ambassador to Cuba in half a century

US President Barack Obama nominated a career diplomat to serve as the first ambassador to Cuba in more than 50 years as part of his efforts to open relations with the communist island.

Jeffrey DeLaurentis has served as the top, non-ambassadorial diplomat in Cuba since 2014 and done two previous postings on the island.

"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," Obama said in a statement.

Having an ambassador will improve relations with Cuba and make it easier to advocate for US positions, Obama said. DeLaurentis' nomination must be approved by the US Senate and is unclear whether the Republican-controlled chamber that has been cool to Obama's Cuba policy will do so.

Obama has increasingly relaxed decades-old prohibitions on commerce and travel with the communist island, with both nations reopening their respective embassies.

Obama and Raul Castro began the process of restoring relations in late 2014, but a trade embargo that can only be lifted by the US Congress remains in place. In March, Obama became the first US president in nearly 90 years to visit Cuba.

Last update: Wed, 28/09/2016 - 01:17
Author: 

Related

Trump vows to undo Obama's opening toward Cuba

World

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 - 23:01

Obama says he will visit Cuba in March

World

Thursday, February 18, 2016 - 18:25

More from World

Trudeau faces ethics probe over vacation on Aga Khan's private island

Canada's ethics watchdog is investigating whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated his own conflict of...

King's son visits Trump after his sharp words with civil rights icon

President-elect Donald Trump met Monday with the son of slain civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King to...

Eight Egyptian police killed in attack on desert checkpoint

Eight Egyptian policemen were killed and three others wounded in an attack by gunmen Monday on a checkpoint in the...

Last man on the moon, US astronaut Gene Cernan, dies

The US astronaut Gene Cernan, the last astronaut to leave footprints on the moon, has died at the age of 82, the US...

Plague kills at least 27 in Madagascar

At least 27 people in southern Madagascar have died from the plague, health authorities on the island said Monday....