United States Ambassador to Cuba

Ambassador of the United States to Cuba

Seal of the United States Department of State
Jeffrey DeLaurentis (acting)

since July 20, 2015
Nominator President of the United States
Inaugural holder Herbert G. Squiers
as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
Formation May 20, 1902;
reestablished July 20, 2015
Final holder Philip Bonsal (1960)
Abolished January 3, 1961 - July 20, 2015
Website havana.usembassy.gov

The United States Ambassador to the Republic of Cuba is the official representative of the President of the United States to the head of state of Cuba, and serves as the head of the Embassy of the United States in Havana. Direct bilateral diplomatic relations did not exist between the two countries from 1961 to 2015. President Dwight D. Eisenhower severed relations following the Cuban Revolution on January 3, 1961.[1] Relations were subsequently restored by Cuban President Raul Castro and President Barack Obama on July 20, 2015.[2][3][4]

With the restoration of relations in 2015, the president may nominate an ambassador, though the position has remained vacant since 1960. The embassy is currently run by a Chargé d'affaires ad interim, Jeffrey DeLaurentis. The Chargé d'affaires and the embassy staff at large work in the American Embassy on the Malecón across from the Plaza de la Revolución in Havana, Cuba. Obama officially nominated DeLaurentis on September 27, 2016.[5]


Cuba was the last major Spanish colony to gain independence, following a lengthy struggle that began in 1868. José Martí, Cuba's national hero, helped initiate the final push for independence in 1895. In 1898, the United States fought a brief war known as the Spanish–American War, after the USS Maine sank in Havana Harbor on February 15, 1898 due to an explosion of undetermined origin. In December 1898, Spain relinquished control of Cuba to the United States with the Treaty of Paris. On May 20, 1902, the United States granted Cuba its independence but retained the right to intervene to preserve Cuban independence and stability in accordance with the Platt Amendment.

In 1902 the US established an embassy in Havana and appointed its first ambassador, Herbert G. Squiers. In 1934, the Platt Amendment was repealed. The United States and Cuba concluded a Treaty of Relations in 1934 which, among other things, continued the 1903 agreements that leased the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base to the United States. In 1959 Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement overthrew the government of Fulgencio Batista and Batista fled the country on January 1, 1959. Relations between the United States and Cuba deteriorated rapidly as the Cuban government expropriated US properties and developed close ties with the Soviet Union. In October 1960, the US recalled its ambassador to protest Castro's policies. On January 3, 1961 the US withdrew diplomatic recognition of the Cuban government and closed the embassy in Havana. On September 1, 1977 the U. established the United States Interests Section in Havana, located in its former embassy and operated under the auspices of the Embassy of Switzerland in Havana. The Interests Section was headed by Chief of Mission rather than an ambassador. Bilateral relations between the two governments resumed on July 20, 2015.


Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary (1902–1923)

U.S. diplomatic terms

Career FSO
After 1915, The United States Department of State began classifying ambassadors as career Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) for those who have served in the Foreign Service for a specified amount of time.

Political appointee
A person who is not a career foreign service officer, but is appointed by the president (often as a reward to political friends).

The date that the ambassador took the oath of office; also known as “commissioning”. It follows confirmation of a presidential appointment by the Senate, or a Congressional-recess appointment by the president. In the case of a recess appointment, the ambassador requires subsequent confirmation by the Senate.

Presented credentials
The date that the ambassador presented his letter of credence to the head of state or appropriate authority of the receiving nation. At this time the ambassador officially becomes the representative of his country. This would normally occur a short time after the ambassador’s arrival on station. The host nation may reject the ambassador by not receiving the ambassador’s letter, but this occurs only rarely.

Terminated mission
Usually the date that the ambassador left the country. In some cases a letter of recall is presented, ending the ambassador’s commission, either as a means of diplomatic protest or because the diplomat is being reassigned elsewhere and replaced by another envoy.

Chargé d'affaires
The person in charge of the business of the embassy when there is no ambassador commissioned to the host country. See chargé d'affaires.

Ad interim
Latin phrase meaning "for the time being", "in the meantime". See ad interim.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (1923–1933; 1934–1961; 2015–present)

Note: Normal relations were severed in January 1961 and were not normalized until July 2015.

Chiefs of the US Interests Section

The Interests Section operated from September 1, 1977 to July 20, 2015.


  1. United States severs diplomatic relations with Cuba History.
  2. "Obama moves to restore relations with Cuba". MSNBC. 2014-12-17.
  3. "Obama opens doors to Cuba after 56 years". USA Today. 2014-12-17.
  4. "U.S., Cuba restore ties after 50 years". Reuters. 2014-12-18.
  5. http://www.politico.com/story/2016/09/obama-nominates-ambassador-to-cuba-in-long-shot-move-228810
  6. Morgan was commissioned during a recess of the Senate and recommissioned after confirmation on December 11, 1905.
  7. Judah was commissioned during a recess of the Senate and recommissioned after confirmation on December 17, 1927.

See also


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