USA confirms "limited resume" of its consular services in Cuba

USA confirms "limited resume" of its consular services in Cuba

The United States Embassy in Havana confirmed this Thursday that it will begin the “limited resumption” of its consular services, although it did not specify the exact date for this reopening.

According to the diplomatic headquarters, which convened at the residence of the chargé d’affaires, Timothy Zúñiga-Brown, in the Havana neighborhood of Miramar, exclusively to the independent media, the plans do not include, for the moment, the reinstatement of the five-year visa for Cubans residing on the Island.

Nor do they foresee, for now, reopening the information centers, the library and the web browsing rooms that exist in the Embassy.

Regarding the refugee program for Cubans, Zúñiga-Brown recalled that they are processed through the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency.

When it goes live, the consulate will work with the National Visa Center to “schedule a limited number of immigrant visa appointments,” provided applicants submit all required documents. These will be attended, they warn, only by appointment.

Until then, he also specified, the main place to process visas for Cubans will continue to be the Embassy in Georgetown, Guyana, which, however, and depending on the influx of applications, will continue to process these documents.

The consular interview, the charge d’affaires specified to this newspaper, will be paid in dollars.

“Applicants do not need to contact the embassies in Havana or Georgetown, as they will be notified directly with their appointment information,” added the charge d’affaires.

The official statement indicates that the partial reopening of services is part of “the broader expansion” of its functions “to facilitate diplomatic engagement with civil society and to expand the provision of consular services.”

Until then, he also specified, the main place to process visas for Cubans will continue to be the Embassy in Georgetown, Guyana, which, however, and depending on the influx of applications, will continue to process these documents.

In addition to “certain immigrant visa services,” the statement said, the consulate “will continue to provide essential services to US citizens and limited processing of emergency non-immigrant visas.”

When asked if large sums will continue to be paid to the public health system for carrying out this check-up, the answer was: “That will be a decision of the Cuban Ministry of Public Health.”

The news had been advanced this Tuesday by the Reuters agency, which assured that the “deployment of additional consular representatives in Havana” is the result of the one-year review of Biden’s policy on Cuba and that this situation “would mark an initial phase of relaxation of the strict limits of visas imposed under the mandate of the previous president, Donald Trump”.

The United States reduced the staff of its embassy in Cuba in 2017, after some thirty of its diplomats suffered mysterious health incidents known as “Havana syndrome” and whose reasons have not yet been clarified.

asked by 14ymedio If this partial resumption of services means a change of position towards the alleged acoustic attacks, Zúñiga-Brown referred to Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statements about the ongoing investigation and added that this cannot be seen as “turning the page “.

Sources from the State Department had told this medium that one of the most delicate issues for the full restoration of services was to find a mechanism so that the physical examination, required to obtain an immigrant visa and carried out through the hospital system Cuban, was not the bulky source of income that it had been for the regime.

However, when asked if large sums will continue to be paid to the public health system for carrying out this check-up, the answer was: “That will be a decision of the Cuban Ministry of Public Health.”

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