Top US diplomat in Cuba on short list for new embassy

By ANITA SNOW – Associated Press – July 02, 2015

HAVANA (AP) — From his office high above Havana, Jeffrey DeLaurentis has a sweeping view of the cerulean Florida Straits and the blood-red letters declaring Cuba’s defiance of the United States.

“Homeland or Death!” reads the sign erected in front of the U.S. Interests Section, a declaration installed 15 years ago when DeLaurentis was a more junior officer working to defuse a standoff over the fate of child rafter Elian Gonzalez.

Now, on this third assignment in communist Cuba, DeLaurentis is the top U.S. diplomat on the island, working to bring an end to more than a half-century of hostilities between the two countries. Known for his low-key style and public discretion, the 61-year-old diplomat also is on a short list for U.S. ambassador to Cuba, if there is to be one.

On Wednesday, DeLaurentis hand-delivered a letter from the White House to the Cuban Foreign Ministry about converting missions known as interest sections in the countries’ respective capitals into full embassies.

Cuba said ceremonies to do that will be held July 20, though the U.S State Department said it does not yet have a date.

For Schizophrenic’s Family, the Pain and Love Are Inseparable : Mental illness: At first Jimmy seemed like any other kid. His sister describes losing her cherished childhood playmate.


NEW YORK — He is there on every almost page of the family photo album, the shy little boy with enormous dimples who captured my heart as a child and broke it as a grown-up.

There’s my little brother Jimmy, just 9 months old, sitting next to me on the couch and clutching my hand. We’re both giggling at someone to the left.

Here he is as a toddler, standing next to one of the Three Little Pigs at Disneyland, scared and delighted to be so close to such a strange and wonderful creature. Again, he holds my hand.

I study Jimmy’s eyes, expressions, the way he stands and sits. There’s a certain timidity in the eyes, perhaps. A hesitancy in his smile.

But there is no clue to what he would someday become.