Les Etats-Unis lèvent une série de sanctions contre Cuba

Les Etats-Unis lèvent une série de sanctions contre Cuba

The decision promises to spark a lively debate as the subject is politically sensitive in the United States. The Biden administration announced on Monday, May 16, the lifting of a series of restrictions targeting Cuba, a country under Washington’s embargo since 1962.

According to a statement from the State Department, the Biden administration will notably reinstate a program suspended for several years, which facilitated immigration procedures for members of the same family. It also promises to increase processing capacity for visa applications in Havana.

The United States will also remove the ceiling of 1,000 dollars (950 euros) per quarter and per sender/recipient, which has so far limited money transfers to Cuba, and will also authorize shipments of money outside the family. The State Department specifies, however, that these financial flows should not “enrich” persons or entities violating human rights. This ceiling was decided by former President Donald Trump, who took a series of measures against Cuba during his tenure. Financial sanctions targeting Cuban personalities or entities remain in place, however, the Biden administration said.

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The Biden administration will also increase the number of flights between the United States and the island, authorizing service to cities other than Havana. It will also authorize certain group trips, which are currently prohibited.

“Developing economic opportunities”

These announcements, immediately hailed as “a small step in the right direction”, “but of limited scope”by the Cuban government, are the result of a review of American policy towards the communist regime, which was launched by US President Joe Biden.

The measures announced on Monday are “practical decisions to respond to the humanitarian situation” in Cuba and “developing economic opportunities” Cubans,” said a senior US administration official.

In Havana, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodriguez, admitted that it was “positive measures” but who “do not alter the blockade in any way, nor the main economic siege measures taken by Trump”.

“Neither the objectives nor the main instruments of the United States’ policy against Cuba, which is a failure, are changing”he added in a statement published on the ministry’s website, recalling the ” provision “ of his government “to enter into a respectful dialogue on an equal footing with the government of the United States”.

Democratic President Joe Biden is trying to find a delicate balance between a declared desire to “support the Cuban people” and to encourage its democratic aspirations, on the one hand, and firmness against the communist regime, on the other. In the summer of 2021, he condemned the repression of major demonstrations in Cuba and took a series of sanctions against Cuban officials.

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Criticism even from Democrats

The subject of relations with Cuba is politically hot in the United States, which is home to a large community of immigrants of Cuban origin.

“The announcement of the day risks sending the wrong message to the wrong people at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons”immediately criticized Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, and yet a member, like Joe Biden, of the Democratic Party.

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The conservative opposition, for its part, has long been intimately associated with the virulent criticism of the communist regime. Republican Senator Marco Rubio has thus accused the Biden administration of counting among its ranks “sympathizers” of the communist regime in Cuba. The elected official from Florida, where the majority of the Cuban diaspora resides in the United States, also affirmed that the government’s decision represents “the first steps towards a return to Obama’s failed policies on Cuba”.

During his mandate, Barack Obama, of which Joe Biden was vice-president, had chosen a policy of historic openness with the Caribbean island, which had allowed a brief upturn in relations between the two countries. Arrived at the White House, Donald Trump had however tightened the sanctions against Havana, returning to the policy of the Democratic president.

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The World with AFP

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