Washington to resume family reunification program in Cuba
The Biden administration is to reinstate the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program and increase capacity for consular services and visa processing in Havana.
The Biden administration announced Monday that it will reinstate a program allowing US citizens and permanent residents to apply for their family members in Cuba to enter the US without waiting for immigrant visas.
In addition to reinstating the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program, which former President Trump suspended, the Biden administration will also further increase capacity for consular services and visa processing in Havana.
It will remove the limit on the number of money people in the US are allowed to send to their family members in Cuba, which currently is capped at $1,000 per quarter per sender-receiver pair.
The US is also expanding authorized travel to locations beyond Havana, reinstating group travel for things like professional meetings and research.
The administration said it will seek to boost support for independent Cuban entrepreneurs by authorizing access to expanded cloud technology and e-commerce platforms.
This means that the measures are aimed at making it "easier for families to visit their relatives in Cuba and for authorized US travelers to engage with the Cuban people, attend meetings, and conduct research," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.
A limited step in the right direction
In response to Washington's latest decision, the Cuban foreign ministry described it as a "limited step in the right direction."
Nevertheless, the ministry went on to stress that the blockade imposed by the US remains in work and that these measures "in no way modify the blockade or the main measures of economic siege adopted by Trump, such as the lists of Cuban entities subject to additional coercive measures; nor do they eliminate traveling restrictions for US citizens."
The statement pointed out how Washington abused the embargo, notably since 2019 when it was strengthened to the extreme, by taking advantage of the pandemic and the economic downturn this produced thus pushing Cubans to the brink of poverty and forcing them to immigrate.
It further highlighted the open antagonistic rhetoric used by the US State Department and its slandering of Havana, revealing that neither the goals of US policy toward Cuba nor its principal instruments have changed.