US officials have revealed measures to soften the harsh sanctions imposed by US President Donald Trump on Cuba.
New measures adopted by the Biden administration would lift limits on family remittances and travel to the island.
The processing of US visas for Cubans will be accelerated as well.
According to State Department spokesperson Ned Price, the measure will allow Cuban citizens to live a life free of “government persecution.”
The lifting of sanctions will result in the removal of a restriction on family remittances, which are cash transferred by migrants in the United States to family members in Cuba. Previously, migrants could not transmit more than $1,000 (£811) every three months.
Non-family members can also make donations under the new policies.
However, US authorities emphasised that they will utilise civilian “electronic payment processors” to guarantee that such payments do not reach “those who conduct human rights violations.”
They also stated that no bodies will be removed from the Cuba Restricted List, a State Department registry of enterprises associated to Havana’s communist regime with whom US nationals are prohibited from conducting business.
According to a Biden administration official, additional charter and commercial flights to Havana would be accessible, US consular services on the island will be extended, and family reunion programmes will be revived.
Following a period of calm under previous President Barack Obama, Mr Trump initiated a series of penalties against the Cuban regime in 2017.
His government reduced visa processing, limited remittances, and made it more difficult for US residents to visit Cuba for reasons other than family trips.
At the time, Mr Trump cited human rights concerns as the basis for undoing Obama-era deals, and he chastised his predecessor for striking a deal with the country’s “brutal” leadership.
Cuba’s foreign minister applauded the move, calling the relaxation of restrictions “a little step in the correct path.”
However, Bruno Rodriguez said that the strategy “does not change the embargo” in place since 1962, and that “neither the aims nor the key tools of the United States’ failed policy towards Cuba are changing.”
Meanwhile, a senior Democratic Party official has slammed the move.
Senator Bob Menendez, head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, criticised the easing of sanctions, claiming that the Cuban dictatorship has maintained “its relentless persecution of countless Cubans from all walks of life.”
Mr Menendez said in a statement posted Monday night that relaxing travel restrictions “risks sending the wrong message to the wrong people, at the wrong time, and for all the wrong reasons.”
“Those who continue to assume that increased tourism would lead to democracy in Cuba are just delusory. The world has been visiting Cuba for decades, and nothing has changed “He continued.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio slammed the move, calling it “the first steps back to failing Obama policies on Cuba.”
Thousands of Cubans who are yearning to see their family in Florida and elsewhere in the United States will be relieved by the news.
The island is undergoing its most severe migration since the Cold War, with many people travelling to Nicaragua and then up through Central America to the US-Mexico border.
Following President Obama’s relaxation of the same regulations, the Trump Administration imposed a slew of fresh economic penalties on the communist-run island after 2016.
Combined with the economic depression caused by the coronavirus epidemic and governmental mismanagement, the Cuban economy has been in severe difficulties in recent years.
These reforms represent the White House’s first step toward normalising ties with Cuba.