Home CaribbeanCuba CDA, CSG and WOLA ask Biden for more measures to improve the situation in Cuba

CDA, CSG and WOLA ask Biden for more measures to improve the situation in Cuba

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The Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA), the Cuba Study Group (CSG), and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) they asked this Monday to President Joe Biden that it comply with all the changes towards Cuba announced last year and take new measures to alleviate the current crisis that the island is going through.

In a joint statementthe three organizations remember the announced measures by Biden in May 2022, which they consider “an important moment in the evolution of relations” between the two countries, but, at the same time, they ask their government for “additional ones that can contribute to improving the humanitarian situation on the island ”.

“Cuba is dealing with an unprecedented economic and humanitarian crisis characterized by food and resource shortages, continuous blackouts, and limited access to medical supplies,” the organizations state in their communication, which calls for a “more comprehensive response” from the United States. before the “overwhelming hardships suffered by the Cuban population.”

CDA, CSG and WOLA consider that the Cuban government is “mainly responsible” for the current crisis in the country, due to its “economic mismanagement”, its “oppressive practices” and “systematic violations of human rights”, but, At the same time, they recognize that “the US government can play a more constructive role” to improve the situation in Cuba.

“The urgency of addressing these pressing issues cannot be overstated. In the last two years alone, around 3% of Cuba’s population has sought refuge in the United States. This will continue as long as the crisis remains unresolved,” the statement said.

“United States policy towards Cuba must contribute to improving conditions on the ground and avoid the implementation of restrictive measures that isolate and impose a high price on Cuban families without effectively addressing the situation or promoting democratic reforms,” it adds.

migratory actions

Given the current scenario in Cuba and the position of the Biden administration towards the island, the signatory organizations recommend actions to their government in the area of ​​migration, in order to promote a “safe and orderly” migration.

In this regard, although they point out that Biden “has already taken some measures to provide legal pathways for immigrants from Cuba”, such as their inclusion in the new humanitarian parole program and the restart of the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program, they also acknowledge that “restrictive sanctions have exacerbated the scarcity and economic despair of many families” and they believe that “more can be done”.

In this sense, they recommend “reopening the refugee section of the US embassy and reinstating five-year multiple-entry nonimmigrant visas.”

“A crisis of this depth requires addressing both the shortcomings of current US immigration policy and the promotion of rights-based measures, including access to asylum and the expansion of other legal migration channels for those who need protection” , they add.

The US does not plan to reissue non-migrant visas for Cubans “soon”

More support for the private sector

Another recommendation from the CDA, CSG and WOLA to the Biden administration is to comply with the measures announced a year ago that favor greater development of the private sector in Cuba.

In this sense, they recall the changes announced in 2022 by the Democratic ruler —including authorized access to better technologies, payment options, businesses, microfinance and training—, but, they maintain, “despite repeated calls from members of Congress , Cuban Americans and the US private sector eager to support Cuban businessmen, these measures have not yet been implemented.

“These measures must be enacted in their entirety,” the statement emphasized.

In addition, the signatory organizations highlight that “the Cuban government has recently undertaken key economic reforms, such as the legalization of the creation of small and medium-sized private companies in 2021.” However, they assert, “numerous restrictions on relations between US and Cuban companies remain in force.”

“The United States must strengthen economic ties with the Cuban people and support independent businessmen and civil society in general,” they reaffirm, while referring to their concern with the decision of the United States to keep Cuba on the list of sponsoring countries. of terrorism.

“As documented by the CDA and WOLA, the designation creates obstacles to the delivery of humanitarian aid on the island. It can also prevent independent Cuban businessmen from accessing international banking services and foreign citizens from visiting Cuba without losing their US visa waivers under the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)”, they point out.

“The administration has the opportunity to fulfill the promise to initiate a timely review of this designation,” consider the organizations, in whose opinion “important commitments” of Biden’s policy towards Cuba remain unfulfilled.

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“The actions we request will not only provide immediate relief to Cuban civilians, but will also enable them to actively participate in exploring reforms and foster positive changes within their society,” the CDA, CSG and WOLA consider.

“The achievements of the 2014-2017 thaw under President Barack Obama demonstrated that the United States can address concerns related to human rights, humanitarian conditions, and democratic practices while supporting the Cuban people through smart policies, diplomacy and dialogue”, they conclude.

This Monday’s petition joins other recent pronouncements on the subject, such as the one issued last month by Rep. Jim McGovern and former Sen. Patrick Leahy, and others from American businessmen, academics, activists, local governments, and religious groups.

Last month almost 9,000 Cuban and American businessmen They sent President Joe Biden a set of petitions related to US policy toward Cuba. Among these, the main demand was to remove the island from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism.

The coalition of organizations and individuals for the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, ACERE, facilitated its web platform to publicize the letter and gather supporters.

Speaking to OnCubaACERE spokesman Manuel Ramírez said they expected “a respectful response” from the Biden administration that “reflects an understanding of the wishes of the Cuban private sector.”

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