US President Joe Biden has finally announced the easing of some of the 243 sanctions imposed on Cuba by former President Trump
On May 16, the government of US President Joe Biden announced the easing of some of the sanctions imposed on Cuba by former President Donald Trump. The measures include the elimination of the $1,000 limit on family remittances, speeding up the processing of US visas for Cuban citizens, resumption of regular and charter flights to Cuban provinces, and adjustments to the regulations governing transactions with the non-state sector.
The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX) described the US government’s announcement as “a limited step in the right direction.”
“Today, the government of the United States announced several measures, which are positive but of a very limited scope,” said the Ministry in a statement.
The MINREX acknowledged that the measures “identify some of the promises made by President Biden during the 2022 election campaign 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.” Nevertheless, the Ministry said, “these announcements 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 Cuban foreign affairs ministry also criticized the Biden administration for not reversing “the arbitrary and fraudulent inclusion of Cuba in the State Department list of countries that allegedly sponsor terrorism,” pointing out that this inclusion is “one of the main causes for the difficulties Cuba comes up against in its commercial and financial transactions in many parts of the world” in recent years.
Despite the shortcomings, the MINREX stated that “this is a limited step in the right direction, a response to the denunciations made by the Cuban people and government. It 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.”
Read more: The world says no to the blockade of Cuba
The Ministry also reiterated the Cuban government’s willingness “to establish a respectful dialogue, on an equal footing, with the government of the United States, based on the UN Charter, without any interference in the internal affairs of States and with full respect for independence and sovereignty.”
According to the Ministry, “in taking these steps, the State Department uses an openly hostile language, accompanied by traditional slanders and new fallacies…which show that neither the goals pursued by the US policy against Cuba nor its main instruments have changed,” and stressed that “understanding the true dimension of this announcement would require waiting for the publication of the regulations the will be implemented.”
During his four years in office, Trump imposed 243 unilateral coercive measures on Cuba to intensify the economic, commercial and financial blockade that the United States has imposed on the Caribbean nation for more than six decades. The blockade has inflicted serious economic and social losses on Cuba, and has severely affected the development of the country and its people. According to an official report, the damages caused due to the blockade in the past 60 years amount to around $150,000 million. Meanwhile, the humanitarian damage, suffering and resource shortages inflicted upon Cuban families by the blockade are immeasurable.
People’s Dispatch, May 17, 2022, https://peoplesdispatch.org/