Joe Biden is looking at a series of responses to the Cuban unrest, including bolstering the U.S. presence at the embassy in Havana and ensuring money Cuban Americans send home makes it there.
A State working group will look at the feasibility of staffing increases at the U.S. embassy in Havana following massive antigovernment demonstrations that still have hundreds of protesters under detention after a violent crackdown by Cuban authorities.
‘At President Biden’s direction, the United States is actively pursuing measures that will both support the Cuban people and hold the Cuban regime accountable,’ a senior administration official told the Miami Herald.
Other than a staffing boost, the State Department will also launch a review into whether all of the money Cuban Americans are sending family back on the island are actually being received in full.
‘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,’ the official said.
President Joe Biden has ordered a State Department review of Cuba following violent clashes this month between antigovernment protesters and the socialist regime
The review will look at bolstering staffing at the U.S. embassy in Havana (pictured on May 20, 2021) and aim to make sure money sent from Cuban Americans make it to their families on the island. The administration is also looking at making internet accessible after it was cut off and the Treasury Department could issue sanctions
The administration also wants to increase humanitarian assistance to Cuban people and the Treasury Department is looking at issuing sanctions on the Cuban government.
The official confirmed they are considering different initiatives to help make the internet more accessible to Cubans.
The State Department, the official added, ‘will review planning to augment staffing of U.S. Embassy Havana to facilitate diplomatic, consular, and civil society engagement, and an appropriate security posture.’
No official plans have been announced by the agency or the White House as the Biden administration weighs how to respond to the unrest in the socialist-run nation.
The reports of the review, however, come a week after thousands of Cubans took to the streets in cities across the island to protest foot shortages and unreasonably high prices in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The antigovernment uprising was met with violent retaliation from the Cuban government, which is a Unitary Socialist Republic. The clashes left scores of people injured and at least one dead.
Despite spending months developing a strategy on Cuba, the administration now feels a sense of urgency to respond in light of the recent violence.
‘On July 11, the world watched as tens of thousands of Cuban citizens marched through Havana and cities across Cuba bravely asserting their fundamental and universal rights and demanding freedom and relief from the oppression of Cuba’s authoritarian regime,’ the Biden official told the Herald.
‘The Biden-Harris administration has and will continue to stand with the Cuban people,’ they added.
This month, thousands of Cubans took to the streets across the island to protest food shortages and high prices in the midst of the coroanvirus pandemic. Cuban officials retaliated with violence, leaving many injured, at least one dead and hundreds remain in custody
As violent confrontations broke out between the people of Cuba and their government, Miguel Díaz-Canel’s regime swiftly cut off citizens’ internet access to stop images from being widely shared online.
Cuban leader Miguel Diaz-Canel has accused the U.S. of funding and orchestrating the demonstrations
Lawmakers, including Florida Senator Marco Rubio, have been urging Biden to give dissidents free satellite internet access to stop the Cuban government preventing activists from sharing their posts on social media.
Díaz-Canel, the leader of Cuba, repeated accusations at a pro-government rally on Saturday that the island-wide demonstrations were financed and mobilized by the U.S.
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control will look at sanctioning Cuban officials who committed human rights violations against peaceful protesters.
Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement Cedric Richmond and Senior Director for the Western Hemisphere for the National Security Council Juan Gonzalez met on Monday with Cuban American leaders to hear their policy recommendations in the aftermath of the demonstrations.
‘Administration officials underscored that the White House is monitoring the situation in Cuba closely and that addressing the moment and ongoing situation in Cuba is a top priority for the Administration,’ the White House said Monday in a readout of the meeting.
‘They also affirmed what the President said last week: that the demonstrations are the direct result of a failed communist government, and reminded the leaders that the President stands firmly with the people of Cuba,’ the statement read. ‘Stakeholders shared what they’ve done over the last week to help elevate the voices of demonstrators in Cuba and provided their recommendations for how the U.S. government can help.’