In 1961, Washington severed diplomatic relations with Havana. More than 50 years later, embassies in Washington and Havana have officially reopened. And today, Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Havana to raise the American flag over the embassy.
The flag is a powerful symbolic gesture, widely seen as the opening of a new chapter in the complicated, tense relationship between the U.S. and one of its nearest neighbors.
But in the messy universe of Cuban politics and policy, there’s another way to look at it. At least for the short term, Kerry’s ceremony is as likely to be the end of something as the beginning.