WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Earlier on Monday, Rodriguez urged the United States during the Cuban embassy reopening ceremony in Washington, DC to lift the trade embargo it had imposed on the island nation, as well to return Guantanamo Bay to Cuba in order to fully normalize relations between the two countries.
“At this time, there is no discussion and no intention on our part at this moment to alter the existing lease treaty or other arrangements with respect to the naval station [at Guantanamo Bay],” Kerry said.
Similarly, Cuban President Raul Castro called in on the United States in late January 2015 to return the Guantanamo Bay territory to Cuba, including the military base located there. However, the White House stated that the Guantanamo naval base should not be closed.
The United States has been renting the part of the southeastern Cuban shore to maintain a naval station there in line with the Cuban-American Treaty of 1903.
Washington pays $3,400 in rent for the naval base annually. However, the Cuban authorities refuse to receive the money, as they consider the territory illegally occupied by Washington.
In December 2014, President Barack Obama announced his administration would pursue a policy of normalizing relations with Cuba, having broken off relations in 1961 and imposing a trade and travel embargo.
The United States and Cuba officially reestablished diplomatic relations on Monday by reopening embassies in the countries’ capitals. The US Department of State rose the Cuban flag in its headquarters in Washington, DC.