Biden Thinking About Going Soft On Cuba

( )- President Joe Biden is apparently considering re-establishing relationships with Cuba in wake of the protests that happened in the country earlier in July.

Congressional sources spoke with The Hill recently, saying the president is considering allowing remittances to Cuba. He’s also considering re-establishing consular services there.

To investigate the matters, the White House is establishing working groups to evaluate what would be fairly major shifts in policy.

Remittances would allow Cuban people to seek out a visa to the United States directly from Cuba. Right now, they have to go through an intermediary country, dealing with the U.S. embassy in Mexico, for example.

On the flip side, the remittances would allow U.S. residents to send money and funds to their relatives who are living in Cuba.

The senior administration official who spoke with The Hill said:

“The administration is focused on only allowing such transfers if we can guarantee that all of the money flows directly into the hands of the Cuban people instead of allowing a portion of the proceeds to be siphoned off into regime coffers.”

The official also said that the remittances would only be part of a broader effort to “build international pressure against the regime, designating sanctions against those responsible for violence and repression against peaceful protestors, and helping Cubans get access to the internet.”

Remittances to Cuba were eased under President Barack Obama. For the first time since 1961, the U.S. even set up an embassy in the country under Obama.

However, President Donald Trump walked those back, including shutting down many of the embassy functions in the country.

Biden has instructed State Department officials to review plans to supplement staff working at the U.S. embassy in Havana so that civil society engagement, diplomatic and consular services could resume.

The official said:

“The administration will form a Remittance Working Group to identify the most effective way to get remittances directly into the hands of the Cuban people.” In doing so, the State Department, “will review planning to augment staffing of U.S. Embassy Havana to facilitate diplomatic, consular and civil society engagement, and an appropriate security posture.”

In the wake of the massive protests in Cuba recently, Biden has expressed his support for the Cuban people. He specifically said the peaceful protestors were “bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights.”

Still, saying he supports protestors and integrating Obama-era policies would be a pretty large shift for Biden. Since taking office in January, the president hasn’t done anything to move away from Trump’s policies regarding Cuba.

In fact, in May, the State Department even listed Cuba among countries “not cooperating fully with the United States antiterrorism efforts.” That determination was first made under Trump back in 2020.

Trump went as far as placing Cuba on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, and Biden hasn’t removed that label as of yet. That’s a pretty good sign that while the president is investigating progressive solutions with Cuba, he’s not yet fully throwing his weight behind it.