Biden Restores Flights to Cuba and Removes Limits on Remittances

People walk in front of the Museum of the Revolution in Havana, Cuba.  Photo: Efe / Ernesto Mastrascusa

The US president reversed some of the toughest measures on Cuba taken by Donald Trump

By EFE / Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – US president Joe Biden announced on Monday that he will restore commercial flights to Cuba, which now only reached Havana, and that he will suspend the limit of $1,000 per quarter on remittances, reversing some of the harshest measures of his predecessor Donald Trump.

Biden will also restore a family reunification program that it had suspended for years, the State Department said in a statement.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price, explained in a statement that the measures seek to show support for the Cuban people and give them the tools to achieve a “free life” outside of the “oppression” of the their government. and to help them seek better economic opportunities.

Call to release Cuba’ political prisoners

Price renewed his appeal to the Cuban Executive to release its political prisoners “immediately” and respect the fundamental rights of its people.

Specifically, the US announced Monday that it will restore both commercial and charter flights and allow some types of travel that Trump had restricted, such as those for educational or professional-related purposes.

It will also allow trips by groups of US citizens destined to make “people to people” contacts with the Cuban people, but individual visits of this kind will continue to be prohibited.

Until now, US airlines could only fly to Havana, leaving Cuban-Americans with few options to visit relatives in other parts of the island.

In 2019, the Trump administration banned commercial flights from its territory to all Cuban cities except Havana and, in August 2020, went further by suspending private charter flights to all airports on the island, including that of the capital.

Those charter flights were used by many Cuban-Americans to travel to the island from Miami, Florida.

Likewise, the State Department announced Monday that it will increase its support for Cuban entrepreneurs by authorizing access electronic commerce platforms, among other actions.

The policy change comes after an internal review within the Biden Administration that has taken many months.

During his campaign for the 2020 elections, Biden promised to return to the thaw with Cuba started by Barack Obama (2009-2017) and reverse many of the sanctions imposed by Trump.

However, the debate within the Biden government seemed to have come to a standstill after the unprecedented anti-government demonstrations on July 11, 2021 in Cuba, which led to the imposition of sanctions by the US over the imprisonment of several hundred participants.

After these frictions, representatives of the US and Cuba met in Washington in April to discuss migration issues, in the first high-level dialogue between the two countries since Biden’s arrival at the White House.

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One thought on “Biden Restores Flights to Cuba and Removes Limits on Remittances

  • Flights to destinations other than Havana will greatly benefit those of us who have family in the Oriente. A flight into Holguin eliminates a 12 hour road trip for me.

    Importantly to Cuban citizens, those flights will open up more opportunities for foreigners to send remittances and needed goods via mules as is now done in Havana.

    Let us hope that Diaz-Canel realizes this is his opportunity to reopen dialogue by responding with some action. I once though he was not stupid enough to present this as a victory for the Cuban government and sit back to wait for me. But today, I am not so sure after his 11J and 15N responses.

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