Johannesburg - Cuban ambassador Carlos Fernández de Cossío has for the first time attended the 4th of July celebrations by the United States embassy in Pretoria.De Cossio even had a private meeting with US ambassador Patrick Gaspard on the sidelines of the celebrations at his official home on Thursday. The Miami theme included the serving of Cuban food and a performance by an Afro-Cuban band.In his speech, Gaspard said one of his agendas of honouring the Miami and the Afro-Cuban theme was related to the closer ties between Cuba and the US. Ties were restored in July last year after they were severed in 1961, and eventually resulted in Obama’s visit to Cuba in March.“One of the remarkable diplomatic achievements over the past years and certainly over many years was the renewal of relations between the United States and Cuba through the leadership of President Obama,” Gaspard told the crowd of diplomats, businesspeople and others who had dealings with the embassy.“I don’t have to remind you that the rapprochement started right here in South Africa at Madiba’s funeral. There was a simple, small, poetic gesture, a simple handshake between President Obama and Raúl Castro, and from that great things have come.”He said America and Cuba were indebted to their South African friends for that incredible moment.He said just like South Africa and Cuba enjoyed a special relationship, Cuba and the United States also had a “remarkable bond”. This was due to the blend of cultures, their past times, colonialism, slavery, and the two million Cubans who lived in the United States.The partnership with Cuba and Miami for the embassy’s celebrations was “a tip of the hat to the impact of diplomacy and the cultural debt that the United States owes to its immigrants”.Embassy spokesperson Cynthia Harvey said they were pleased De Cossío accepted the invitation to attend its national day event.The Cuban embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.