And so it begins. After more than 50 years of icy relations, Jeffrey DeLaurentis (a U.S. diplomat at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana) delivered a note from President Barak Obama to Cuban President Raul Castro restoring diplomatic relations.

According to the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Cuba will not only officially reestablish diplomatic relations on July 20th, but it will also open its embassy in Washington on that same day.  A formal ceremonial opening will follow at a later date.

Similarly, the American embassy in Havana will likely remain in the same building where the Interests Section currently operates.  There are no current plans in the foreseeable future for a move.

The reestablishment of diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies is the final step in President Barack Obama’s initiative begun in December.  Since January of this year, the U.S. has eased some travel restrictions and permitted for some new economic ties.  Many restrictions, however, will require the involvement of Congress and are expected to take more time.