The United States granted visas to Cuba again after four years of closure

The employee told AFP that only a handful of citations were delivered this Tuesday.

The reopening of the consulate in Havana was announced, in a “limited” and “gradual” manner, on March 3. By Timothy Zuniga Brown, Chargé d’Affairs at the US Embassy, ​​without giving an exact date.

“Let’s hope this all goes well. I’ve been waiting three years to meet my daughter, who’s calling me. I haven’t seen her in seven years,” a man developing the procedure explained, on condition of anonymity.

The Consulate was closed in September 2017 after a republican government Donald trump (2017-2021) denounced mysterious incidents, described as sonic attacks, that would have affected the health of American diplomats, which Havana denied.

Since then, Cubans have been forced to travel to a third country, such as Colombia and Guyana, to apply for a visa.

The reopening of the consulate in Havana follows the resumption in April of negotiations on immigration between Cuba and the United States, which have been on hold since 2018.

The Cuban government claims the 20,000 annual visas that Washington is obligated to grant.

Cuba is facing its worst economic crisis in nearly 30 years due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and Washington’s sanctions. A large number of Cubans seek to emigrate, especially through Central America, to reach the United States borders, but they also do so by sea.

According to the US Customs Office, from October 2021 to March 2022, more than 78,000 Cubans entered across the border with Mexico.

Aware of the reopening, some Cubans went to the consulate to apply for a visa, without an appointment.

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Elsa Meneses, 81, arrived in a walker with her daughter Odalis Guerrero, to request a “humanitarian visa” that would allow her to bury her son, who recently died of cancer in the United States, and is a US citizen.

Aileen Morales

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