US agrees to ‘ease Trump -era sanctions’ on Cuba

US agrees to ‘ease Trump -era sanctions’ on Cuba

Regarding the announcement, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, Carlos Fernández de Cossío have said: "It remains to be seen what the regulations are by which the announced measures are going to be implemented, which may take days or months.

 By Fanny Kalonda.
CUBA says it is willing to establish a respectful dialogue, on an equal footing, with the US government based on the UN Charter and without any interference in the internal affairs of states but with full respect for independence and sovereignty.
This follows the United States government’s announcing of measures regarding Cuba associated to the granting of visas, regular migration, flights to Cuban provinces among others.

“...the Government of the United States announced several measures, which are positive but of a very limited scope, regarding Cuba associated to the granting of visas, regular migration, flights to Cuban provinces, remittances and adjustments to the regulations governing transactions with the non-state sector,” Havana noted in a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX).

Cuba reminded the US of President Joe Biden’s promises during the electoral campaign of 2020 to alleviate the inhumane decisions adopted by president Donald Trump’s administration.

“Taking into account the nature of such measures, it would be possible to identify some of the promises made by President Biden during the electoral campaign of 2020 to alleviate the inhumane decisions adopted by president Trump’s administration, which tightened the blockade to unprecedented levels and increased the ‘maximum pressure’ policy applied ever since against our country,” reads the statement in part.

According to Cuba, the US pronouncements do not 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 travelling restrictions for US citizens”.

“They do not reverse either the arbitrary and fraudulent inclusion of Cuba in the State Department list of countries that allegedly sponsor terrorism, one of the main causes for the difficulties Cuba comes up against in its commercial and financial transactions in many parts of the world,” the Cuban government noted.

It however said “this is a limited step in the right direction, a response to the denunciations made by the people and government”.

Cuba indicated that “this is also a response to the claims made by the US society and the Cubans residing in that country”.

“This has been a demand by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and virtually all members of the United Nations, expressed in the overwhelming vote against the blockade. These are just demands which have been ignored by the government of the United States at a very high cost for our people. Since 2019, the blockade has been tightened to the extreme, taking advantage, in an opportunistic way, of the context of the pandemic, the international crisis and the consequent economic depression. It would be no exaggeration to affirm that the consequences of this siege could be described as devastating. The increase in migration is an evidence of that,” said Cuba. “In taking these steps, the State Department uses an openly hostile language, accompanied by traditional slanders and new fallacies that have become fashionable in the last few months, which show that neither the goals pursued by the US policy against Cuba nor its main instruments have changed. Understanding the true dimension of this announcement would require waiting until the implementing regulations are published.”

Under new measures approved by the Biden administration, restrictions on family remittances and travel to the island will be eased. 
The processing of US visas for Cubans will also be speeded up. 

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the move would allow Cuban citizens to pursue a life free from "government oppression". 

The loosening of sanctions will see a cap on family remittances - funds sent by migrants in the US to family members in Cuba - removed. Previously migrants were prevented from sending more than $1,000 every three months. 
Donations to non-family members will also be permitted under the new plans.

After an easing of tensions under former president Barack Obama, Trump announced a range of sanctions on the Cuban government in 2017. 
His administration slashed visa processing, restricted remittances and increased hurdles for US citizens seeking to travel to Cuba for any reason other than family visits. 
At the time, Trump cited human rights concerns as the reason for rolling back agreements made by the Obama administration and condemned his predecessor for doing a deal with the country's "brutal" government.

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