The US government is relaxing its course on Cuba somewhat. The US Department of State announced on Monday evening (local time) that, among other things, consular services and visa processing at the US Embassy in Havana would be ramped up again to allow more Cubans to visit relatives in the United States.
The previously applicable upper limit for transfers of money from the USA to relatives in Cuba will be lifted. Overall, a little more travel between the two countries should be made possible again. In addition, the Cuban private sector should have better access to American Internet services and e-commerce platforms.
The Cuban Foreign Ministry called the decision a “limited step in the right direction” in a statement. However, it does not change anything about the US embargo against Cuba or the central “economic siege measures” of former US President Donald Trump.
At the end of April, the United States and Cuba held direct talks on migration at a high diplomatic level for the first time in four years. Among other things, it was about the implementation of existing immigration agreements – also in view of the recent increase in illegal migration from the socialist Caribbean state to the USA. The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs had criticized, among other things, that the United States was not adhering to a bilateral agreement that guaranteed 20,000 visas for Cubans every year. A senior US government official has now said that this magnitude should be reached as soon as possible.
The staff at the US Embassy in Havana had been reduced to a minimum years ago because of “Havana Syndrome”. Dozens of US 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 later 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.
During his tenure, Trump scaled back a rapprochement with Cuba initiated by his predecessor Barack Obama. Now Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, is turning things around again. The government official stressed that there was no connection between the current plans and the upcoming America Summit in Los Angeles in June – a gathering of states from North, Central and South America.