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World

Diplomatic Relations Restored As U.S. Embassy Reopens In Havana

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In Havana, the scene was more subdued at the now-renamed U.S. Embassy. Dozens of Cubans and tourists came out to the small plaza in front of the six- story building, waiting for some sort of festivity. But as NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, it was all business today.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Onaes Cintra arrived before the doors opened at the embassy to get a front-row seat and beat the scorching summer sun.

ONAES CINTRA: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: "This has been a battle of 55 years or more," says Cintra, who was hoping to watch the embassy raise the U.S. flag at the lone pole that sits empty off to the side of the concrete structure. He says, "everyone is victorious with better relations." While some embassy personnel dressed in red, white and blue did come out to greet the onlookers, no official speeches were given, and visas and other counselor activities proceeded as usual. Miriam Oliva Muniz came down for a visa interview.

MIRIAM OLIVA MUNIZ: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: "I think things are going to get better for everyone," she says, "now that the U.S. finally has a full-fledged embassy in our country. At least," she says, "the treatment was better today than other times she's gone in for appointments." Carrie Kahn, NPR News, Havana. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.