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WATCH: Richard Blanco Urges U.S. and Cuba to 'Heal Together' at Havana Embassy Reopening

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The gay Cuban-American poet read a moving poem at the historic occasion on Aug. 14

Cuban-American Richard Blanco read a moving poem, "Matters of the Sea," at the reopening of the U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba, on Friday, Aug. 14.

The gay poet remarked how the event was a time for healing between the Caribbean nation and the United States since the countries, which had severed ties during the Cold War, restored diplomatic relations July 20.

Blanco came to wider public attention as the poet of Barack Obama's second inauguration, and he was commissioned by the U.S. State Department to write a poem to mark the occasion. Many saw the decision as a subtle message about tolerance and progressive American values directed at Cuban leaders. Blanco dedicated it to "the people of both our countries who believed that not even the sea can keep us from one another."

His words reminded listeners of the shared experiences of life and nature, as symbolized by the small stretch of ocean that separated the two nations.

"The sea doesn't matter. What matters is this: We all belong to the sea between us," he said.

He ended his oration with a call "to breathe together, to heal together."

Blanco had previously written about his experiences growing up as a gay Cuban-American in his memoir The Prince of Los Cocuyos. In the book, he struggles with his identity as a person from different worlds.

"I'm a little from everywhere," he told The Advocate after the memoir's release. "And aren't we all? At the end of the day, as you move more through life, you take little pieces of everything that you experience -- people we love, people we know, people we meet."

"History moves very slowly," said Blanco, who is an advocate for immigration-related causes. "Some of the same questions I've asked in my poetry and asked in my book are still some of the same questions that Whitman was asking. What is America? We may never have a final answer, or that answer keeps on changing. Look what's happened in the last 10, 15 years. If you really think about it, 10 years ago, I couldn't have been selected as inaugural poet. The country would not have been ready."

Matters of the Seawill be available in September as a bilingual chapbook.

Watch his reading below:

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor-in-chief of Out and an award-winning journalist who focuses on the intersection between entertainment and politics. This Jersey boy has now lived in Los Angeles for more than a decade.

Daniel Reynolds is the editor-in-chief of Out and an award-winning journalist who focuses on the intersection between entertainment and politics. This Jersey boy has now lived in Los Angeles for more than a decade.