US President Joe Biden announced this Monday that he will restore commercial flights to Cubawhich now only reached Havana, and which will suspend the limit of 1,000 dollars per quarter on remittances, reversing some of the toughest measures of his predecessor Donald Trump.
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Biden will also reinstate a family reunification program that had been suspended for years, the State Department said in a statement.
The spokesman for the US Foreign Ministry, Ned Price, explained in a statement that the measures seek to show support for the Cuban people and give them tools to achieve a “free life” outside the “oppression” of the Government of their country and to help them seek better economic opportunities.
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Price reiterated his appeal to the Cuban Executive to release the “political prisoners” “immediately” and respect the fundamental rights of its people.
Specifically, the US announced this Monday that will restore both commercial flights and charter flights and that it will allow some types that Trump had restricted, such as those for educational or professional-related purposes.
It will also stop the trips of groups of Americans destined to make contacts with the Cuban people, known in English as “people to people travel”, but individual visits of this kind will continue to be prohibited.
Until now, US airlines could only fly to Havana, leaving Cuban-Americans with few options to visit relatives in other parts of the island.
In 2019, the Trump administration banned commercial flights from its territory to all Cuban cities except Havana and, in August 2020, went further by suspending private charter flights to all airports on the island, including that of the capital.
Those charter flights were used by many Cuban-Americans to travel to the island from Miami (Florida, USA).
Likewise, the State Department announced this Monday that it will increase its support for Cuban entrepreneurs with authorizations to access electronic commerce platforms, among other actions.
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Policy change comes after internal review
The policy change comes after an internal review within the Biden Administration that has taken months.
During his campaign for the 2020 elections, Biden promised to return to the thaw with Cuba started by Barack Obama (2009-2017) and reverse many of the sanctions imposed by Trump.
However, the debate within the Biden government seemed to have come to a standstill after the unprecedented anti-government demonstrations on July 11 in Cuba, which led to the imposition of sanctions by the US in punishment for the imprisonment of some of its leaders and participants. .
After these frictions, representatives of the US and Cuba met in Washington in April to discuss migration issues, in the first high-level dialogue between the two countries since Biden’s arrival at the White House.
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