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US loosens course towards Cuba

The US has relaxed its course towards Cuba somewhat. Among other things, it should be made easier for Cubans to enter the United States to see relatives. The Biden government is thus reversing a step taken by its predecessor Trump.

The US government is relaxing its course on Cuba somewhat. The US State Department announced 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 travel to relatives in the US.

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.

In the future, charter and scheduled flights will not only be allowed to head for the capital Havana, but also for other places in the island state, the State Department in Washington announced on Monday.

Cuba: “Limited step in the right direction”

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.

Among other things, the Cuban Foreign Ministry had criticized the United States for not adhering to a bilateral agreement that guaranteed 20,000 visas for Cubans each year. A senior US government official has now said that this magnitude should be reached as soon as possible.

The aim of the new regulation is now to promote the desire of Cubans for freedom and greater economic opportunities so that they can lead a successful life in their homeland, said the State Department. The US continues to appeal to the Cuban government to release political prisoners immediately, to respect the people’s fundamental freedoms and to allow Cubans to determine their own fate. In July 2021, mass protests broke out in Cuba because of the poor economic situation.

Puzzling “Havana Syndrome” at US Embassy

The staff at the US embassy in Havana was reduced to a minimum years ago because of the “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.

Upcoming America summit casts shadows

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.

Several heads of state had recently questioned their participation in the summit if Cuba or other countries were not invited because of criticism of their political leadership. The government official stressed that the decisions on the invitations are still ongoing.

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