Biden orders Havana embassy staff review, remittance after Cuban protest


President Joe Biden takes steps on Monday to respond to the historic wave of protests in Cuba, orders the State Department to consider increasing staff at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, and considers remittances to Cuban families Formed a working group to do.

The administration’s new policy moves are a step forward for the White House, which has been rethinking its attitude towards Cuba for more than six months.

But when an island-wide rebel uprising broke out last week, with many injured and at least one dead, the administration felt the urgency to act suddenly.

Hundreds of protesters are still in custody after a violent crackdown ordered by Cuban authorities.

“At the direction of President Biden, the United States is actively pursuing measures to support the Cuban people and hold the Cuban administration accountable,” a senior government official told McClutchie and Miami Herald.

“The government will form a remittance working group to identify the most effective way to get remittances directly into the hands of the Cuban people,” the State Department said. And promote it. ” Diplomacy, consular officers, civil society involvement, and an appropriate security system. “

At a pro-government rally on Saturday, Cuban leader Miguel Diaz Cannell repeatedly accused the protests of being organized and funded by US White House authorities.

Biden has promised to overturn some of Trump’s policies regarding remittances and travel because of humanitarian concerns.

Over the past two years, the Trump administration has tightened restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba and reversed its involvement policy from the Obama era to reduce the money flowing to the Cuban army. Trump officials also cited Cuba’s support for Venezuela’s administration of Nicolas Maduro as another reason for the “maximum pressure campaign” against the Communist government.

With ties to the Cuban army and sanctions against Cuban financial institution Fincimex, Western Union will cease service in Cuba in early 2020 and many Cuban Americans will be legal to send money to their loved ones on the island. Lost the way. .. Remittances are the country’s second largest source of income and a lifeline for many families.

The Trump administration also restricted commercial flights to most Cuba destinations and banned cruise trips to Cuba in June 2019. Trump’s State Department returned Cuba to its list of state sponsors of terrorism a few days before resigning.

About 100,000 Cubans wanting to move to the United States are also facing legal issues as the outage of consular services at the US Embassy in Havana has caused a huge backlog. The U.S. government resigned most staff in 2017 after many diplomats became ill due to a mysterious illness in which some suspects were attacks from foreign enemies, although the cause is still unknown. did.

There is increasing pressure in Miami, home of the largest Cuban-American community. Hundreds of Cuban-Americans hold week-round rallies in Miami, Washington, and other cities, calling on President Biden to show his support for the protesters.

Cuban-American parliamentarians seek ways to provide free Internet access to Cubans on the island after the government suspends services to stop the distribution of images of protests and the response of violent police. I asked the government.

Officials said Biden is also working with Congress and the private sector to find “feasible options” that make Cubans more accessible to the Internet.

The Treasury also considered designating new sanctions on Cuban officials responsible for crackdowns through protests, and the Biden administration “diplomatic with regional and international partners” to support Cuban democracy. Strengthen our involvement. “

“On July 11, the world is free from the oppression of Cuban authoritarian regimes, with tens of thousands of Cuban citizens marching through cities throughout Havana and Cuba, bravely claiming their basic and universal rights. I watched asking for relief, “said officials. “The Biden Harris administration has been and will continue to stand with the Cuban people.”

Posted on