Kerry to travel to Cuba

Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryCountries create largest marine reserve off Antarctica The Atlantic Council's questionable relationship with Gabon’s leader State Dept. months late on explaining Clinton aide's missing emails MORE announced Wednesday that he will travel to Cuba at some point in the future, a mark of the thawing U.S. relations with the island nation. 

"I look forward to being the first Secretary of State in 60 years to visit Cuba," Kerry said in a statement.

The move comes as President Obama on Wednesday announced moves to normalize relations with Cuba, set up an embassy there, and ease economic and travel restrictions. 

Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere Roberta Jacobson will travel to Cuba in January for talks, Kerry said. The State Department is also reviewing Cuba's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. 

A sitting U.S. president has not traveled to Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928, although former President Jimmy Carter has traveled there after leaving office. 

Kerry, a veteran of the Vietnam War, compared the effort to normalizing relations with Vietnam.

"As we did with Vietnam, changing our relationship with Cuba will require an investment of time, energy and resources," Kerry said.

"Today’s step also reflects our firm belief that the risk and the cost of trying to turn the tide is far lower than the risk and cost of remaining stuck in an ideological cement of our own making."