US Revises Cuba Policy, Eases Restrictions on Remittances, Travel
Story Code : 994653
The measures, which were rolled out after a lengthy US government review, mark the most significant changes in the US approach to Havana since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021.
But the announcement stopped short of returning US-Cuba relations to the historic rapprochement engineered by former President Barack Obama, under whom Biden served as vice president. That included less crimped flow of remittances, fewer travel curbs and faster visa services, Reuters reported.
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price in a statement said the measures announced Monday were to "further support the Cuban people, providing them additional tools to pursue a life free from Cuban government oppression and to seek greater economic opportunities."
The State Department said the United States would lift the cap on family remittances, previously set to $1,000 per quarter, and authorize donative remittances to non-family members.
But it made clear that the United States would not remove entities from the Cuba Restricted List, a State Department list of Cuban government- and military-aligned companies with whom US firms and citizens are barred from doing business.
"We are going to ensure that remittances flow more freely to the Cuban people, while not enriching those who perpetrate human rights abuses," an administration official said.
Trump slashed visa processing, restricted remittances, scaled back flights and increased hurdles for US citizens seeking to travel to Cuba for anything other than family visits.
There were few details on how the new policy would be implemented, but officials said the steps would be implemented over coming weeks.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, in a Twitter post, called the US announcement "a limited step in the right direction."
Among the changes is a plan to reinstate the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program, which had provided a legal way for Cuban families to be reunited in the United States, and increase capacity for consular services.