US President Joe Biden said his administration will not ease restrictions on remittances sent from US residents to relatives in Cuba because the Cuban government will likely confiscate the money.
On Sunday, thousands of Cubans took part in the biggest anti-government protest in Cuba in recent years to express dissatisfaction with what they believe to be a lack of freedom and a degrading economic situation in the country. Some protesters demanded that free elections be held.
“There are a number of things that we would consider doing to help the people of Cuba but it would require a different circumstance or guarantee that they would not be taken advantage of by the government,” Joe Biden said on Thursday. “For example, the ability to send remittances back to Cuba. I would not do that now because the fact is it is highly likely the regime would confiscate those remittances or big chunks of it.”
US media reported on Wednesday that the Biden administration planned to ease the ban on remittances to Cuba.
In 2019, the Trump administration imposed restrictions on remittances sent from the United States to Cuba in order to deny the Cuban government access to hard currency.
US restrictions on trade with Cuba date back to the island nation’s communist revolution in the late 1950s and involve at least a half dozen different US laws. President Barack Obama took steps to normalize bilateral relations with the island, but many of those steps were reversed by the Trump administration.
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