President Obama received an awkward endorsement Monday as a crowd gathered outside the new Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C., chanted "Viva Raúl! Viva Obama!"
Raúl Castro, the younger brother of revolutionary Fidel Castro, is the president of Cuba and first secretary of the country’s Communist Party.
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MSNBC reporter Luke Russert reported the chants at an event commemorating resumption of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba.
"Most of the protesters are actually in favor of this," Russert reported, "and they're shouting ‘Viva Raúl! Viva Obama!' I'm sure he's probably not thrilled to be intertwined with Raúl that directly."
As supporters cheered the new relationship between Presidents Obama and Castro, Cuban democrats protested the regime’s tyranny. One protestor—drenched in fake blood to symbolize the violence committed against human rights activists by the Cuban government—was detained by police during the ceremony.
President Obama's decision to thaw relations with the Communist state that America has opposed and boycotted for decades has roiled many Cuban Americans. Since an agreement on July 20, the two nations have normalized relations, culminating in the embassy opening that brings with it full diplomatic engagement and a new era. The end of the Cold War stand off means that the Cuban flag officially flies in the U.S.'s capital for the first time since 1961, when John F. Kennedy was president.
Cuba is designated as an unfree country by Freedom House, a human rights advocacy organization. Sec. John Kerry will fly to Havana on August 14 to participate in a flag-raising ceremony for the opening of the U.S. embassy.