Joe Biden looks at a range of responses to the Cuban unrest, including strengthening the US presence in the embassy in Havana and ensuring that the money Cuban Americans send home goes there.
A state task force will examine the feasibility of staff increases at the US embassy in Havana following mass anti-government demonstrations that still see hundreds of protesters detained after a violent crackdown by Cuban authorities.
“At the direction of President Biden, the United States is actively pursuing measures that will both support the Cuban people and hold the Cuban regime accountable,” said a senior administration official. told the Miami Herald.
Aside from a staff boost, the State Department will also investigate whether all the money Cuban Americans send back to their families on the island is actually being received in full.
“The government will form a remittance working group to find the most effective way to put 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 anti-government protesters and the socialist regime
The assessment will look at staff reinforcements at the US Embassy in Havana (pictured May 20, 2021) and aims to ensure money sent by Cuban Americans gets to their families on the island. The government is also considering making the internet accessible after it was cut and the Treasury Department could impose sanctions
The government also wants to increase humanitarian aid to the Cuban people and the Treasury Department is considering imposing sanctions on the Cuban government.
The official confirmed that they are considering several initiatives to make the internet more accessible to Cubans.
The State Department, the official added, “will review its schedule to increase staffing levels at the US Embassy in Havana to facilitate diplomatic, consular and civil society engagement and appropriate security posture.”
No official plans have been announced by the agency or the White House as the Biden administration weighs in on how to respond to the unrest in the socialist-led nation.
However, the review’s reports come a week after thousands of Cubans took to the streets in cities across the island to protest foot shortages and unreasonably high prices amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The uprising against the government was met with violent retaliation by the Cuban government, a Unitary Socialist Republic. Dozens of people were injured and at least one killed in the clashes.
Despite months of developing a strategy on Cuba, the government now feels a sense of urgency to respond in light of the recent violence.
“On July 11, the world saw tens of thousands of Cuban citizens march through Havana and cities across Cuba, boldly claiming 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,” she added.
This month, thousands of Cubans across the island took to the streets to protest food shortages and high prices amid the coroan virus pandemic. Cuban officials retaliated with violence, with many injured, at least one dead and hundreds in custody
When violent clashes broke out between the people of Cuba and their government, Miguel Díaz-Canel’s regime quickly cut off citizens’ internet access to prevent images from being widely shared online.
Cuban leader Miguel Diaz-Canel has accused the US of funding and orchestrating the demonstrations
Lawmakers, including Florida Senator Marco Rubio, have urged Biden to give dissidents free satellite Internet access to prevent the Cuban government from stopping activists from sharing their posts on social media.
Cuba’s leader Díaz-Canel repeated allegations at a pro-government rally on Saturday that the island-wide demonstrations were funded and mobilized by the US.
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control will look into sanctions against Cuban officials who committed human rights violations against peaceful protesters.
White House Office of Public Engagement director Cedric Richmond and senior Western Hemisphere director for the National Security Council Juan Gonzalez met on Monday to hear their policy recommendations in the wake of the demonstrations.
“Administrative officials underlined that the White House is closely monitoring the situation in Cuba and that addressing the current and ongoing situation in Cuba is a top priority for the administration,” the White House said in a readout from the meeting.
“They also confirmed what the president said last week that the demonstrations are the direct result of a failed communist government and reminded leaders that the president stands firmly behind the Cuban people,” the statement read. “Stakeholders shared what they’ve been doing over the past week to raise the voices of protesters in Cuba and made recommendations on how the US administration can help.”