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The United States Interests Section of the Embassy of Switzerland in Havana, Cuba or USINT Havana (the State Department telegraphic address) represented United States interests in Cuba from September 1, 1977, to July 20, 2015.
It was staffed by United States Foreign Service personnel and local staff employed by the US Department of State, and located in a multi-story office building on the Malecón across from the Plaza de la Revolución in Havana.
The first attempt to send them out through Canada failed when the flight attendants on a regular Air Canada flight refused to fly with them even with a contingent of Mounted Police providing security.
Alternate arrangements were soon made to fly them out on Cubana via Jamaica.
When relations were broken in 1961, the building was occupied, and its contents safeguarded, by the Swiss diplomats who handled US interests in Cuba on behalf of the US Government as the protecting power until the arrival of the US staff in 1977.
The Swiss staff included some of the Foreign Service National employees who were working at the US Embassy when relations were broken.
The first two years were a period of rebuilding contacts, dealing with the contents and condition of the building and the residence, repatriating dual national Americans and their families stranded in Cuba, securing the release of American prisoners held on political charges (including Lawrence K.The Immigrant visa workload was very heavy but not very productive.Thousands of approved immigrant petitions flowed in but few beneficiaries had permission to depart the country and those that did had no petitions.Through Holladay, Castro assured the US Government that Cuba would adhere to the terms of the bilateral anti-hijacking agreement even though it was in suspension due to disagreements over US handling of Cuban boatjackers.When asked, Castro also authorized the passengers to purchase items from airport shops with hard currency.