The U.S. and Cuba restored diplomatic relations last night. Here's what it looked like when they severed them.

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

Just after midnight on July 20, the U.S. and Cuba officially restored diplomatic relations. The two countries had severed those ties in 1961—two years after Fidel Castro had risen to power. The U.S. and Cuba are set to fully re-open embassies in D.C. and Havana immediately.

Back in January 1961, the news coverage of the separation was routine—it would have been impossible to predict that it would take 54 years for the two countries to reconcile.

Around the one minute mark, U.S. ambassador James Wadsworth remarks that the Cuban leadership is slandering the United States by saying an imminent invasion is being planned. The Bay of Pigs invasion would happen three months later, showing the Cuban leadership to be either prophetic, lucky, or pretty good at espionage for such a young regime.


But the gamesmanship is over now. Long gone are the schemes and cockamamie plans to assassinate Castro. Soon there won't even be remarkable stories of Cuban baseball players fleeing the Caribbean to come play for the Yankees. It's a new day and pretty soon newsreel footage like the above will merely cause people to ask what took so long.

David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on—hop on. Got a tip? Email him:

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