A group of nearly 80 democratic members of congress sent a letter to President Joe Biden Tuesday urging him to reverse the Trump administration’s policies toward Cuba.
The letter set forth the specific restrictions that the Biden administration should reverse, including both donative remittances and remittances sent by Cuban-Americans to their families. The Trump administration placed a cap on family remittances of $1,000 per quarter and prohibited donative remittances in their entirety. The letter also urged the Biden administration to roll back the Trump administration’s travel restrictions to Cuba. According to the lawmakers, such restrictions not only harmed Cuba’s economy but hindered efforts for cultural and educational exchanged between the US and Cuba. The congressional members also urged Biden to reverse the Trump administration’s recent decision to place Cuba back on the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. They believe this action will further hinder improve relations between the US and Cuba.
In addition to the reversal of specific restrictions, the members also supported a “more comprehensive effort to deepen engagement and normalization.” Such effort includes restarting direct diplomatic engagement with the Cuban government and engaging in key areas of mutual interest including migration, disaster response, environment, counter-narcotics and money laundering. Further, the members believed that engagement on medical cooperation should be a top priority in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter stated:
As you begin to implement your pledge to “elevate diplomacy as the Unites States’ principal tool of foreign policy,” we respectfully urge you to promptly reverse the Trump Administration’s cruel policies against the Cuban people and renew mutually productive dialogue with the Cuban government. Executive Orders implemented by the Trump Administration tightened sanctions to levels not seen in decades, at a time when Cubans are facing acute shortages of food and medicine exacerbated by their preventive economic shutdown which has helped to limit the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. With the stroke of a pen, you can assist struggling Cuban families and promote a more constructive approach by promptly return to the Obama-Biden Administration policy of engagement and normalization of relations.
The letter had a broad range of signatories including progressives, moderates, first-term members and senior members.