Cuban Dissidents Won’t Attend US Embassy Event

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The U.S. doesn’t plan to invite Cuban dissidents to Secretary of State John Kerry’s historic flag-raising at the American Embassy in Havana on Friday, illustrating a shift in U.S. policy from the island’s opposition to its government.

Instead, Kerry will meet quietly with activists later in the day.

The Cuban opposition has occupied the center of U.S. policy since the nations cut diplomatic ties in 1961. But as they’ve worked to restore relations, the focus moved to engaging a government that sees the dissidents as U.S. mercenaries.

Officials familiar with Kerry’s trip say a compromise is in the works. The dissidents won’t visit the embassy but will meet Kerry after a lower-key, afternoon flag-raising at the ambassador’s residence.

Kerry is the first secretary of state to visit Cuba since 1945.