Hours after he presided over the inauguration of the newly-opened U.S. embassy in Cuba, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry strolls through picturesque Old Havana. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walked through Havana on Friday (August 14), hours after he declared a new era in Cuba-U.S. relations after presiding over a ceremony raising the U.S. flag over the newly-reopened American embassy. Kerry, the first U.S. secretary of state to visit the Caribbean island in 70 years, urged political change in Cuba, telling Cubans they should be free to choose their own leaders. Surrounded by security and media, Kerry strolled through Old Havana as residents and tourists photographed him. Kerry's walk was yet another step in a historic day full of symbolism in a path opened last December when President Barack Obama and President Raul Castro announced they would seek to restore diplomatic ties, reopen embassies and work to normalize ties. Kerry made plain that despite the historic opening between the nations, Washington would continue to push for democratic reform. Cuba has long defended its style of government in the face of U.S. hostility and pressure to change since the 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power. Obama, a Democrat who has come under heavy criticism from Republican opponents and some in his own party over the policy shift toward Cuba, has said the rapprochement is partly because decades of efforts to force change by isolating the island did not work. The event took place nearly four weeks after the United States and Cuba formally renewed diplomatic relations and upgraded their diplomatic missions to embassies. While the Cubans celebrated with a flag-raising in Washington on July 20, the Americans waited until Kerry could travel to Havana.