More visas and travel: the United States relaxes its course a little towards Cuba

Status: 05/17/2022 05:43

The United States has somewhat relaxed its course towards Cuba. Among other things, it should be easier for Cubans to enter the United States to see relatives. The Biden government is thus reversing a step taken by its predecessor Trump.

The US government is relaxing its focus on Cuba somewhat. The U.S. State Department announced, among other things, that consular services and visa processing at the U.S. Embassy in Havana would be intensified again to allow more Cubans to visit relatives in the United States. -United.

The previously applicable upper limit for money transfers from the United States to relatives in Cuba will be lifted. Overall, a little more travel between the two countries should again be made possible. In addition, the Cuban private sector should have better access to American Internet services and e-commerce platforms.

Going forward, charter and scheduled flights will not only be allowed to head to the capital Havana, but also to other locations in the island state, the State Department in Washington announced Monday.

Cuba: “A limited step in the right direction”

Cuba’s Foreign Ministry called the move “limited steps in the right direction” in a statement. However, this does not change the US embargo against Cuba or the central “economic siege measures” of former US President Donald Trump.

In late April, the United States and Cuba held direct high-level diplomatic talks on migration for the first time in four years. Among other things, this involved the implementation of existing immigration agreements – also in view of the recent increase in illegal migration from the socialist Caribbean state to the United States.

The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs had criticized, among other things, the non-respect by the United States of a bilateral agreement which guaranteed 20,000 visas to Cubans each year. A senior US government official has now said that scale should be reached as soon as possible.

The goal of the new regulations is now to promote Cubans’ desire for freedom and greater economic opportunity so they can lead successful lives in their homeland, the State Department said. The United States continues to call on the Cuban government to immediately release political prisoners, respect the fundamental freedoms of the people, and allow Cubans to decide their own fate. In July 2021, mass protests erupted in Cuba due to the poor economic situation.

Confusing ‘Havana Syndrome’ at US Embassy

The staff at the United States Embassy in Havana was reduced to a minimum years ago because of “Havana Syndrome”. Dozens of American diplomats and their families living in the Cuban capital had been complaining of mysterious headaches, hearing loss, dizziness and nausea since 2016. Similar complaints were subsequently reported elsewhere in the world.

A US intelligence report in February said some cases of “Havana syndrome” may have been deliberately triggered by some form of electromagnetic radiation.

The next US summit casts shadows

During his tenure, Trump scaled back a rapprochement with Cuba initiated by his predecessor Barack Obama. Now Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, is changing things up again. The government official stressed that there was no link between the current plans and the upcoming US summit in Los Angeles in June – a gathering of states from North, Central and South America.

Several heads of state had recently questioned their participation in the summit if Cuba or other countries were not invited due to criticism of their political leadership. The government official stressed that decisions on invitations are still in progress.

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