The American flag will be raised above a reopened embassy in Havana today for the first time in more than 50 years. It's just the latest sign that US-Cuba relations have been transformed in the last 18 months, but a secret pregnancy could have derailed it all. The New York Times shares the detail in a much longer piece on the "secretive path" that got us to today, reporting on a clandestine plan that allowed a member of the so-called Cuban Five, Gerardo Hernández, to artificially inseminate his wife. He was held in California; Adriana Pérez lived in Havana, and, after the successful insemination, was now quite obviously pregnant. But she was also famous in Cuba, meaning her appearance in public would've raised suspicions.
White House officials moved quickly and urged the Cuban government to keep her hidden from public view. It was a shock to Cubans when Hernández greeted a nine-months-pregnant wife, age 44, upon release. The pregnancy was hardly the only difficulty that came up during talks. As the Times puts it, "the path to a diplomatic opening was very nearly a dead end." Cubans brought up historical disagreements, stretching back to the Spanish-American War in 1898, and initially avoided mentioning human rights or US fugitives in Cuba, reports Mother Jones. But securing the release of American Alan Gross, held in Havana, as well as how to frame that release, was particularly thorny. The Times has a detailed rundown.