Biden lifts Trump-era sanctions on Cuba

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The Biden administration is lifting Trump-era restrictions on Cuba, including some aspects of travel to the island, caps on remittances and the issuance of at least 20,000 immigrant visas annually.

A statement from the State Department described the measure as “designed to provide more support to the Cuban people, to pursue a life free from Cuban government oppression and to provide additional tools to explore greater economic opportunities.”

The decision, made after lengthy internal review, was delayed after the Cuban government cracked down on widespread street protests on the island last summer.

The administration is also under pressure to reduce the number of migrants crossing the southern border, where thousands of Cubans have become the second largest group for unauthorized entry through Mexico. Last month, the administration and Cuba discussed direct immigration for the first time in four years.

Under a decades-old bilateral agreement, postponed in 2018 as part of the Trump administration’s opening of President Barack Obama in Cuba that led to the restoration of diplomatic relations in 2015, the United States agreed to issue at least 20,000 immigrant visas a year. Cuba. Visas were further restricted in 2019 when US embassies and consulates were reduced to skeletal staff.

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Under the new arrangement, the administration will increase the power at the consulate and restore a family reunion parole program. The Trump-era limit of তিন 1,000 per family remittance will be lifted every three months and the ban on non-family remittances will be relaxed to allow independent Cuban entrepreneurs to make payments.

The statement said, “We will encourage business opportunities outside the public sector by granting access to expanded cloud technologies, application programming interfaces and e-commerce platforms.” Restrictions on commercial and charter flights to cities other than Havana will also be lifted.

Cuba is facing a severe economic crisis due to a combination of US sanctions, a sharp decline in tourism during the epidemic, and global inflation.

Biden, who promised to repeal sanctions during his campaign, has been caught in the crossfire of conflicting pressure on Cuba. A number of senior lawmakers, including Cuban Americans, have opposed the easing of sanctions, while some Democrats and several Latin American countries have objected.

In a potentially embarrassing situation for the administration, a growing number of Hemisphere leaders have said they will not attend the US summit hosted by Biden in Los Angeles next month unless they invite Cuba.

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