Who Is Jose Ramon Cabanas? Veteran Diplomat Is Cuba’s First Ambassador To US In Over 50 Years
By Avaneesh Pandey, International Business Times
Jose Ramon Cabanas Rodriguez — a veteran diplomat who ran Cuba’s de facto embassy or “Interests Section” in Washington since 2012 — has become the first Cuban ambassador to the United States in over 50 years. The move came just two months after the two countries ended half a century of mutual hostility, and agreed to formally restore diplomatic ties.
Cabanas, who became the charge d’affaires when relations were formally restored on July 20, presented his credentials to U.S. President Barack Obama during a ceremony at the White House Thursday, where the latter also received new diplomats from 15 other nations.
“The Cuban ambassador’s accreditation to the United States is a further step within the process to normalize relations between both countries,” the Cuban embassy reportedly said, in a statement released Thursday.
Washington is yet to name its ambassador to Cuba.
Cabanas, an alumnus of Havana’s Institute of International Relations Raul Roa García, has served as Cuba’s vice minister of foreign relations and the country’s envoy to Austria.
In 2013, during his stint as the chief of the Cuban Interest Section in Washington, the career diplomat said — in an interview with the Chicago Policy Review — that as a result of the U.S. embargo on Cuba, American companies were losing opportunities to invest in the Latin American nation.
Feature continues here: Ambassador
Editor’s Note: Career Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Josefina Vidal, expelled from the US in 2003, continues to serve under shallow cover as head of the North America portfolio in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX). One of Havana’s premier experts in US affairs, she was seen as the likely pick for Cuba’s first ambassador. Raul Castro made a pragmatic and safe move in going with the incumbent. That said, Cabanas is three years into his assignment, so Vidal may get another chance in two years (shortly after the US presidential elections).