Regardless of the humanitarian motivation behind Monday’s announcement by the Biden Administration that it would lift some sanctions on Cuba, the timing couldn’t have been worse. The dictatorship is under strain and it remains Russia’s closest ally in the Western Hemisphere. Why is Team Biden putting pressure on Havana now?
The Cuban regime may be in the most precarious state of its 63 years in power. The economy has collapsed, and the worship of the hero Fidel Castro is as dead as he is. The uprising of July 11 last year, when tens of thousands of people took to the streets and shouted for freedom, exposed the Cuban people’s contempt for their government.
Thousands of peaceful protesters were rounded up by paramilitary police and secret agents last summer, and about 750 are still in prison. This week, Havana announced a new law that criminalizes basic freedoms. Offending a government official is currently punishable by up to five years in prison. A Cuban involved with an international aid group not authorized by the state has been at the top for years behind bars.
The new Biden Administration policy removes limits on the amount of remittances Americans can send to Cuba, reopens air routes to cities across the island, and restores travel for so-called so-called Cubans. education group. The practical effect would be to provide the regime, which controls all trade, with hard currency to maintain its repression.
The authorities said they wanted to help the Cuban people. But like the Obama Administration, the Biden Team does not acknowledge that the cause of the island’s devaluation is the regime itself.
Receive remittances. The greenback sent from Florida never reached her. They were confiscated by the government. Whether a military entity or the Cuban central bank takes the money is a difference of semantics. She received worthless pesos that she had to exchange for marked items in government stores. Group travel to the island is strictly controlled for propaganda and income for the military.
The new policy allows the US to sponsor “independent” Cuban entrepreneurs, but that doesn’t exist. Reality doesn’t stop Team Biden, which on May 10 granted a license — from the Office of Foreign Assets Control — allowing a U.S. company to invest in and finance a Cuban company.
The license potentially violates the Cuban Freedom and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996, which forbids extending credit to Cuba. The White House’s urgency to rescue Havana is ripe for congressional questions.
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Appears on May 20, 2022, print edition as ‘Biden’s Bizarre Help for Havana.’
https://www.wsj.com/articles/bidens-strange-help-for-havana-cuba-sanctions-russia-11652909478 Biden’s Strange Help for Cuba