The US Consulate in Havana began this Tuesday the visa processing for immigrants, a service suspended on the island since 2017, according to international news agencies.
Four people of Cuban nationality, who had an appointment, lined up first thing in the morning at the US diplomatic mission building for this procedure, which in the last four years has only been carried out at the embassy in Georgetown (Guyana). ), reports a dispatch from EFE.
The United States Embassy in Cuba, however, had not formally announced the start this Tuesday of the progressive recovery of consular services, which the Spanish agency claims to have confirmed by different sources. Until the publication of this note, his social networks had not confirmed the news, as he could verify OnCuba.
For its part, the French agency AFP also found the presence of “a small group of people” waiting in a park near the diplomatic headquarters “to have their consular appointment.” An employee of the legation specified to that medium that “for this Tuesday only a few summonses were delivered.”
The American charge d’affaires in Cuba, Timothy Zúñiga-Brown, had announced on March 3 that the consulate would once again process visas for immigrants. He then explained that the decision was part of the “gradual expansion” of consular activity, which was expanded, although in a “limited” way and without establishing specific deadlines for the return to normality.
In those statements, it was specified that priority would be given to applicants in the IR-5 category (father or mother of a US citizen) and that those who had applied for their visa after April 1 would have their interview scheduled at the Embassy in Havana and not in Guyana, remember EFE.
US consular services in Cuba were drastically limited as a result of mysterious “health incidents” reported by a group of officials, who have been called by politicians and the media such as the “Havana Syndrome”.
When these facts were disclosed, the government of then President Donald Trump accused Havana of being behind some kind of “sonic attack” against its personnel, something that has not been proven so far. In addition, similar cases have been reported in other countries.
The Cuban authorities, who have denied the island’s involvement in the incidents and that they were deliberate actions, described at the time the US announcement of the restart of consular services in Havana as a “step in the right direction.”
The reactivation of the procedures occurs amid the sharp increase in the number of migrants from the island who try to reach the United States irregularly, mainly through Central America, taking advantage of the fact that Nicaragua does not require visas from Cubans.
Data from the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office indicates that in the last five months a total of 47,331 Cubans entered the North American country irregularly, only in February the figure reached 16,557, he points out EFE. Other sources say that this number doubled last March and that there are already more than 70,000 Cubans who have arrived in the current fiscal year.
The Government of Cuba blames Washington for the increase in the irregular migratory flow and has repeatedly accused it of failing to comply with bilateral agreements on the matter. However, both parties recently resumed meetings on this issue, and a posteriori positively valued the round of talks.