U.S. Softens Stance on Cuba and Venezuela

Cuba and Venezuela BELatina Latinx
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Sometimes, international politics works by comparison effect. As Vladimir Putin breaks with decades of diplomacy, the United States looks to its closest borders and readjusts its own strategies.

As NBC News reported, the U.S. government is moving to ease some economic sanctions on Venezuela in a gesture intended to encourage the resumption of negotiations between the U.S.-backed opposition and the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

At the same time, The Biden Administration announced Monday that it will reverse some of the restrictions imposed by Trump on Cuba, such as limits on travel and remittances and boost visa processing in Havana.

What measures will be taken toward Venezuela?

Following Nicolás Maduro’s meeting with representatives of the Biden administration last March, coinciding with the outbreak of Putin’s war in Ukraine, the U.S. government is seeking that the easing of economic sanctions on Venezuela will allow replacing the oil supply suspended by imposing sanctions against Russia.

As NBC News explained, the limited changes will allow Chevron Corp. to negotiate its license with the state oil company, PDVSA, but not to drill for or export any Venezuelan-origin oil, two senior U.S. government officials told The Associated Press late Monday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the formal announcement had not been made.

The moves follow goodwill gestures by Maduro after meeting in March with representatives of President Joe Biden’s administration and a recent meeting in Central America between U.S. officials and the main opposition coalition Unitary Platform to discuss a way forward.

“These are things that … the Unitary Platform negotiated and came to us to request that we do in order for them to be able to return to the negotiating table,” one of the officials said.

What is happening in Cuba?

Since the president took office, the Biden administration has conducted what analysts call “a lengthy policy review” of U.S.-Cuba policy.

A senior U.S. official said the Biden administration will continue to elevate the matter of human rights, the treatment of political prisoners, and labor rights in Cuba, as well as “empowering the Cuban people to determine their own future.”

The U.S. will allow charter and commercial flights to airports outside Havana. During the Trump administration, flights to Cuba were restricted to Havana airport only. A senior administration official also said the U.S. will reinstate group educational travel under a general license but is not reinstating individual “people-to-people” educational travel.

The $1,000 per quarter caps on family remittances will be eliminated, visa processing at the embassy in Havana will be increased, and the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program will be reinstated.