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Biden Has Ordered A Study Of Cuban Remittances

CNN – US Politics By Kevin Liptak and Paul LeBlanc, CNN President Joe Biden has asked his government to look into remittances to Cuba in the aftermath of the island’s protests to see whether there are any methods for Americans to send money there, according to a senior administration official.
“Under President Biden’s direction, the US is actively seeking measures to support the Cuban people while also holding the Cuban dictatorship accountable,” the person said.
According to the official, the “Remittance Working Group” will “find the most effective manner to transfer remittances directly into the hands of the Cuban people.”
Last week, Biden stated that remittances — the tradition of Americans sending money to their Cuban relatives — will wind up in the hands of the dictatorship under the current circumstances.
Yet, he has been under pressure to demonstrate support with demonstrators since then.
Cuba’s government has complete control over the island’s banking sector as well as all communications.
Several US administrations have attempted and failed to circumvent the authorities in order to provide money or increase internet access.
But, the issue has gained new urgency in recent days as a result of the island’s greatest protests in decades.
Thousands of Cubans flocked to the streets this month across the country to protest chronic shortages of basic supplies, restrictions on civil liberties, and the government’s handling of a spreading coronavirus outbreak, marking the country’s most serious unrest in decades.
The State Department is also examining proposals to increase employment at the US Embassy in Havana “to support diplomatic, consular, and civil society engagement, as well as an adequate security posture,” according to a State Department official.
According to the person, the White House is considering sanctioning “Cuban officials responsible for violence, repression, and human rights breaches against peaceful protestors in Cuba.”
The US will “intensify diplomatic engagement with regional and international allies to promote the goals of the Cuban people,” according to Biden, who previously stated that he was investigating the possibility of restoring internet connectivity to Cuba.
The official stated on Monday that the US would “engage closely with the business sector and the US Congress to develop feasible alternatives to make the internet more available to the Cuban people.” Cuba policies have been under review since Biden took office.
Cuba oversaw the reopening of embassies and the relaxation of several restrictions that had been in place since the embargo began.
Yet, the Trump administration levied some of the strongest economic sanctions against Cuba in decades, reintroduced travel restrictions, and designated Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism before leaving office.
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Maegan Vazquez of CNN contributed to this story.

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