HAVANA (AP) — Hundreds of Cubans are among those who gathered near the U.S. Embassy in Havana to see today's historic raising of the U.S. flag over the building for the first time in 54 years.

One man voiced the hopes of many on the island when he said the normalization of ties might bring "social and economic benefits for all Cubans."

Giant Cuban flags were hanging from the balconies of nearby apartment buildings and people gathered at their windows with a view of the embassy.

His visit to Cuba today for the flag-raising at the new U.S. Embassy there makes John Kerry the first U.S. secretary of state to visit that country since 1945.

Cuban TV broadcast his arrival at Havana's airport live, after switching away from cartoons for coverage of the embassy flag-raising.

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio is the son of anti-Castro Cuban immigrants and he's blasting the Obama administration's decision to reopen the embassy in Havana.

In prepared remarks from New York, he says the opening has ensured the socialist Cuban "regime will receive international legitimacy and a substantial economic boost to benefit its repression."

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