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Biden to lift Trump-era restrictions on Cuba
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The Biden administration is lifting Trump-era restrictions on Cuba, including some aspects of travel to the island, caps on remittances and issuing at least 20,000 immigrant visas a year.

A State Department statement described the measure as designed “to further support the Cuban people, providing them with additional tools to lead a life free from oppression from the Cuban government and to seek greater opportunities.” economic”.

The decision comes after a lengthy internal review, delayed after the Cuban government cracked down on widespread street protests on the island last summer.

The administration has also come under pressure to reduce the number of migrants crossing the southern border, where tens of thousands of Cubans have become the second largest group of people seeking unauthorized entry through Mexico. Last month, the administration and Cuba held direct migration talks for the first time in four years.

Under decades-old bilateral agreements suspended in 2018 as part of the Trump administration’s cancellation of President Barack Obama’s Cuba overture that led to the restoration of diplomatic ties in 2015, the United States United had agreed to issue at least 20,000 immigrant visas a year for Cubans. Visas were further restricted when the US Embassy and Consulate was reduced to skeleton staff in 2019.

Biden-hosted Americas summit faces invite list boycott

As part of the new measures, the administration will increase the capacity of the consulate and reinstate a parole program for family reunification. The Trump-era cap that limited family remittances to $1,000 every three months must be lifted, and the ban on non-family remittances will be relaxed to allow payment to independent Cuban entrepreneurs.

“We will encourage business opportunities outside the public sector by enabling access to extended cloud technology, application programming interfaces and e-commerce platforms,” ​​the statement said. Bans on commercial and charter flights to cities other than Havana will also be lifted.

Cuba is facing a severe economic crisis, caused by a combination of US sanctions, a sharp drop in tourism during the pandemic, and global inflation.

Biden, who pledged to roll back restrictive measures during his campaign, has been caught between conflicting pressures on Cuba. Senior lawmakers, including a number of Cuban Americas, opposed any easing of restrictions, while some Democrats and a number of Latin American countries opposed them.

In a potential embarrassment for the administration, a growing number of hemispheric leaders have said they will not attend the U.S. summit Biden is due to host next month in Los Angeles unless Cuba is invited.

washingtonpost Gt

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