Washington — Monday’s Biden administration announced partial lifting of sanctions on Cuba, including expanding flights beyond Havana and resuming a program to reunite the Cuban family in the United States. President BidenThe campaign promises to overturn many of the sanctions imposed by his predecessor.
Changes, including easing the remittance ban, were announced after a lengthy review of Cuban policy. They take effect when food and medicine shortages create a new wave of Cubans trying to reach the coast of the United States.
Government officials said the action was “focused on empowering human rights and the Cuban people,” but was immediately accused by Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission. “Today’s announcement risks sending the wrong message to the wrong people at the wrong time and for all the wrong reasons,” he said.
The division between Mr. Biden and Mr. Menendez is at the heart of the differences between the two parties in how to deal with the Cuban government. Following a government crackdown on the opposition that began in July, Mr Biden announced predominantly symbolic sanctions against Cuban police officers and others accused of human rights violations, including the arrest of protesters. But it also made it difficult for the Obama administration to fulfill his campaign promise to restore the relationship that Mr. Biden had approved as Vice President.
However, Biden officials have concluded that recovering the status quo from January 2017, when the Obama administration resigned, is as complicated in Cuba as it is in Iran, where parallel efforts are stagnant. ..
The Biden administration’s policy review concludes that the best way to make a difference in Cuba was the direct involvement of the people, not the government, which was also the underlying logic of President Barack Obama’s opening to Havana. I did. The government claimed that Cubans are shipping technology to Cubans to avoid government censorship and help 20,000 rejoin US families.
Menendez has a very different view. The only way to change the behavior of the Cuban government is to curb its income. He specifically opposed the government’s decision to allow groups, not individual tourists, to travel to Cuba.
“I’m disappointed to know that the Biden administration will begin allowing group trips to Cuba through tourism-like visits,” Menendez said in a statement.
“For clarity, those who still believe that increased travel will give rise to Cuba’s democracy are simply in a state of denial,” he said. “For decades the world has traveled to Cuba, and nothing has changed. For years, the United States has stupidly relaxed travel restrictions, claiming that millions of US dollars bring freedom. I did, but nothing changed. “
The largest revived program is Cuba’s Family Reunification Parole Program, which allows up to 20,000 US immigrant visas each year. The State Department will announce that it is strengthening visa approval at the Havana embassy. According to people familiar with the matter, there are 22,000 applications that no one has taken action in the last five years.
The government has also relaxed a $ 1,000 family remittance ban every quarter to ensure that payments are sent to individuals rather than businesses. However, it is unclear how the transfer of funds will be achieved. A major financial processing company called Finsimex is run by the Cuban Army.
In a conversation with a reporter on Monday night, White House officials avoided one of the most annoying problems in efforts to revoke the sanctions imposed by President Donald J. Trump: the Cuban government diplomacy. An ongoing mystery as to whether the mysterious illness that has afflicted the government is responsible and CIA personnel around the world.
CIA in January, a well-known illness Havana Syndrome Since they were first identified within the US delegation of Cuba, it is unlikely that they were caused by Cuban, Russian, or other foreign enemies.
Authorities argued that most of the 1,000 cases reported to the government could be explained by environmental causes, undiagnosed medical conditions or stress, rather than sustained global campaigns by foreign powers. The group representing the victims was angry, and the CIA said research was ongoing for about 20 cases that remained unexplained.
Biden administration officials recently said they were a little stuck because of inconclusive conclusions and couldn’t solve the mystery of Havana Syndrome and therefore couldn’t do much in diplomatic relations.