Washington lifts a set of restrictions on Cuba

US Embassy in Havana (Cuba), May 3, 2022
US Embassy in Havana (Cuba), May 3, 2022 (Yamil LAGE / AFP)

The Biden administration announced on Monday that it would lift a series of restrictions on Cuba, including immigration procedures, remittances and air connections. This decision promises to spark lively debate as it has received political attention in the United States.

This announcement is the result of a review of US policy on the communist government initiated by the President of the United States, which was immediately welcomed by the Cuban government as “a small step in the right direction”, “but limited scope”. Joe Biden.

According to a State Department statement, the Biden administration has resumed a program that had been suspended for several years, facilitating immigration procedures for members of the same family.

We also promise to increase the processing capacity of visa applications in Havana.

The United States has also lifted the $ 1,000 per-quarter and sender / recipient limit, which previously restricted remittances to Cuba, and allows remittances outside the family.

However, the State Department stipulates that these flows of funds should not “enrich” individuals or groups that violate human rights.

The upper limit was set by former President Donald Trump, who took fierce action against Cuba during his tenure.

The Biden administration will also increase the number of flights between the United States and the island, allowing services to cities outside Havana. It also allows certain group trips that are currently prohibited.

Economic sanctions on Cuban personalities and groups continue to be enforced, but the Biden administration said.

“Economic opportunity”

The measures announced on Monday are Cuban’s “practical decisions aimed at responding to humanitarian situations” and Cubans’ “development of economic opportunities,” U.S. government officials said. Stated.

In Havana, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodrigues said that while these are “positive measures,” the blockade (the embargo that has been in force since 1962, editor’s note) is also a major measure of Trump’s economic position. Will never fix it. “

In a statement posted on the ministry’s website, he emphasized the government’s “disposal”, stating that “the objectives and key measures of US policy towards failure in Cuba have not changed.” A dialogue that pays homage to the US government on an equal footing. “

Democratic President Joe Biden is trying to find a delicate balance between the declared desire to “support the Cuban people” and encourage democratic aspirations, and the firmness of the communist regime.

Last summer he condemned the crackdown on major demonstrations in Cuba and took a series of sanctions against Cuban officials.

The subject of relations with Cuba is politically hot in the United States, home to a large community of immigrants from Cuba.

“Today’s announcement risks sending the wrong message to the wrong people at the wrong time and for the wrong reason,” said a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, such as Joe Biden. He immediately criticized a Bob Menendez.

Conservative opposition, as part of it, has long been closely associated with the fierce criticism of the communist government.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio has accused the Biden administration of counting the “sympathizers” of the Cuban communist administration.

Officials elected from Florida, home to the majority of Cuba’s diaspora in the United States, also confirmed that the government’s decision represents “a first step towards Obama’s return to a failed policy on Cuba.”

During his mission, Barack Obama, whose Vice President was Joe Biden, chose a policy of historic opening up to the Caribbean islands. And it allowed a short turnaround in relations between the two countries. However, when Donald Trump arrived at the White House, he tightened sanctions on Havana and returned to Democratic presidential policy.