Even if we are still far from lifting the American embargo against Cuba put in place on February 3, 1962, the Biden administration has just made a gesture with the lifting of a series of restrictions.
According to a statement from the State Department, the United States will notably reinstate a program suspended for several years which facilitated immigration procedures for members of the same family. They also promise to increase visa processing capacity in Havana. Finally, the ceiling of 1,000 dollars per quarter and per sender/recipient which has so far limited money transfers to Cuba, put in place by Donald Trump, will be suspended.
It will also be possible to send money outside the family. The State Department, however, clarifies that these financial flows must not "enrich" individuals or entities violating human rights. Finally, the Biden administration will also increase the number of flights between the United States and the island by authorizing service to cities other than Havana. It will also authorize certain group trips which are currently prohibited.
A sensitive debate in the United States
However, the financial sanctions targeting Cuban personalities or entities remain in place, the Biden administration said, explaining that these measures are above all intended "to respond to the humanitarian situation" and "to develop economic opportunities. »
This announcement was immediately hailed as "a small step in the right direction", "but limited in scope" by the Cuban government. In Havana, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez acknowledged that these are "positive steps" but "in no way alter the blockade or the major economic siege measures taken by Trump." And to add: "Neither the objectives, nor the main instruments of the policy of the United States against Cuba, which is a failure, change". However, he says he is ready "to enter into a respectful and equal dialogue with the United States government".
The subject of relations with Cuba is politically hot in the United States and the debate with these measures risks taking a new turn in the coming hours in the United States, including in the Biden camp. "Today's announcement risks sending the wrong message to the wrong people at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons," immediately slammed Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, and yet like Joe Biden of the party. democrat.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio, meanwhile, accused the Biden administration of having "sympathizers" in Cuba's communist regime among its ranks. The elected official from Florida, where the majority of the Cuban diaspora resides in the United States, also said that the government's decision represented "the first steps towards a return to Obama's failed policies on Cuba".