Biden administration easing some US restrictions on Cuba

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The administration of United States President Joe Biden is easing some restrictions on Cuba, the US State Department has introduced, together with curbs on household remittances and travel to the Caribbean island nation.

In a assertion on Monday, the State Department mentioned the US would reinstate a household reunification programme often called the Cuban Family Reunification Parole and proceed to spice up the capability of its consular companies.

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It can even develop authorised travel, enhance assist for Cuban entrepreneurs, and “ensure that remittances flow more freely to the Cuban people while not enriching those who perpetrate human rights abuses”.

The modifications intention to “support the Cuban people, providing them additional tools to pursue a life free from Cuban government oppression and to seek greater economic opportunities”, mentioned State Department Spokesperson Ned Price.

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The measures, which come after a prolonged US authorities overview, mark essentially the most important modifications in Washington’s approach to Havana since Biden took workplace in January of final 12 months.

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But the announcement stopped in need of returning US-Cuba relations to the historic rapprochement engineered by former President Barack Obama, below whom Biden served as vp. That included much less crimped stream of remittances, fewer travel curbs and quicker visa companies.

There have been few particulars on Monday on how the brand new US coverage can be carried out.

The Cuban embassy in Washington, DC, didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark from the Reuters information company.

The announcement comes simply weeks after the US embassy in Cuba in early May started issuing visas for the primary time in 4 years.

That got here shortly after senior US and Cuban officers held their highest-level diplomatic talks after a extreme disruption in ties through the administration of former President Donald Trump.

The discussions in Washington, DC, in April between senior Department of State officers and Cuba’s deputy overseas minister targeted on migration, with the US aspect desirous to rein in a rising variety of Cubans making an attempt to enter the nation.

But tensions between the 2 nations persist, together with over the Cuban authorities’s crackdown on protests final 12 months and persevering with US sanctions in opposition to the nation.

Cuba’s overseas minister additionally not too long ago accused the Biden administration of exerting strain on nations within the area to attempt to exclude Havana from the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California.

“There is no justification for excluding Cuba or any other country from this event that we have attended the last two editions,” Bruno Rodriguez mentioned on Twitter final month.

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A US delegation is travelling to Mexico later this week to debate the June summit, after Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador final week warned that if Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela are excluded, he would skip it and ship a consultant as an alternative.

In its assertion on Monday, the State Department mentioned the US would carry the cap on household remittances, beforehand set to $1,000 per quarter, and authorise donative remittances to non-family members.

But it made clear that the US wouldn’t take away entities from the Cuba Restricted List, a State Department record of Cuban government- and military-aligned firms with whom US corporations and residents are barred from doing enterprise.

“We are going to ensure that remittances flow more freely to the Cuban people, while not enriching those who perpetrate human rights abuses,” an administration official mentioned earlier within the day.

The US will use civilian “electronic payment processors” for remittances to keep away from funds going on to the Cuban authorities, the official mentioned, including that the US had already engaged with the Cuban authorities “about establishing a civilian processor for this”.

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