Cuba Reacts to Biden’s Easing of Sanctions

Havana said Biden’s were a step in the right direction, but of “very limited scope.”

President Joe Biden meeting with Cuban American leaders on July 30, 2021. (White House, Adam Schultz)

By Peoples Dispatch

The government of U.S. President Joe Biden announced Monday 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 U.S. 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 U.S. government’s announcement as “a limited step in the right direction.” 

“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 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 U.S. citizens.”

June 16, 2017: President Donald Trump signing an order to reimpose some sanctions on Cuba. (White House, Shealah Craighead)

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 U.S. 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.”

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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 U.N. 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 that 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.

This article is from Peoples Dispatch.

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10 comments for “Cuba Reacts to Biden’s Easing of Sanctions

  1. susan
    May 24, 2022 at 08:43

    Be very careful what you wish for Cuba – the USA will rape and pillage your country in a heartbeat if given the chance!

  2. renate
    May 24, 2022 at 02:26

    The American leadership is really small-minded and sadistic. Declaring a country sponsoring terrorism has only one reason to justify the nastiness of the nation’s morally bankrupt leaders.

  3. Mark Stanley
    May 20, 2022 at 11:08

    One day two Homeland Security goons showed up at my sister’s door asking ‘serious’ questions, because somehow, they’d found out she had purchased citrus seeds on ebay from a country our government doesn’t like (Malaysia?) I cannot recall which one—and that is the point. I guess that as a citizen I am supposed to keep track of all of those purportedly nefarious countries, and restrict my interactions with them even though the U.S. has not declared war on any. We are talking about citrus seeds—as in oranges, as in kumquats etc. Those two goons are certainly six figure salary guys+benefits+pensions=200K per year–each. They came back to visit her twice. (They must not have anything better to do)
    It got me to thinking.
    By what legal right does the U.S. Government have to restrict trade and access by private citizens to other countries that we are not formally at war with?
    Maybe I want Cuban cigars, and I cannot buy them in the U.S. (maybe I have buddies that bring them over the border from Canada—but don’t tell anybody!) It’s absurd.
    The governments of our world are the entities that cause all of the mischief.
    Common people of one country generally do not want to go to war with those of another. I, as a U.S. citizen do not have anything against folks from Cuba, China, Korea, Russia, Iran, or any country. In fact, I want those cigars, the tea, the ginseng, the caviar, and I like the collar design of the shirts worn by Iranian diplomats. I want some of those cotton dress shirts.

    • Wolfram B
      May 22, 2022 at 00:23

      Great comment.

      I bought illegal incandescent light bulbs and I’m afraid my smart meter will turn me in.

  4. Damian C
    May 19, 2022 at 20:01

    It seems to me that the damages would likely be many multiples of 150 million. 60 years of blockade , let’s see here, 150 divided by 60, that’s only 2.5 million per year. Surely just the tourism that would have occurred if it were easy to get to Cuba would be substantial. The lost trade opportunities, the lost intellectual capital, and the loss of the US dignity and the right are incalculable. Plus, all those obnoxious self imposed exiles who have advocated terrorism would still be in Cuba. Remember Posada Carriles?

    • dave
      May 22, 2022 at 11:21

      Yeah, maybe they meant “billion”?

    • Richard Coleman
      May 22, 2022 at 12:39

      The article didn’t state $one hundred fifty million ($150,000,000), it stated $one hundred fifty THOUSAND million ($150,000,000,000). An astronomical difference.

    • May 23, 2022 at 10:28

      The article states 150,000 million, which is $150 billion

  5. Vera Gottlieb
    May 19, 2022 at 15:53

    Never!!! trust the gringos…never!!!

  6. RS
    May 19, 2022 at 15:45

    Another sad history of the US and its willingness to torture countries that don’t obey its dictates. It’s not a question of democracy. If democracy was at issue the US should abide by the will of the Cuban people. It goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway–it’s a matter of autocratic control. The US position has nothing to do with democracy.

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