Washington (Associated Press)-The Biden administration is expected to Cuba On Friday, President Joe Biden met with Cuban-American leaders at the White House to discuss the United States’ response to recent social protests on the island.
Officials said that Biden may announce new measures against the communist government shortly after the afternoon meeting, which will cover a range of options the government has considered in response to protests, including providing Internet access for Cubans. Officials have no right to preview these actions and speak on condition of anonymity.
The White House meeting was held nearly three weeks after the unusual protests on July 11, in which thousands of Cubans took to the streets of Havana and other cities to protest shortages, power outages and government policies. This is the first such protest since the 1990s.
The details of the new measures expected to be jointly announced by the White House, the Treasury Department and the State Council are not yet clear.
Among those who will meet with Biden is Yotuel Romero, one of the authors of the song “Patria y vida!” The official said that this has become an ode to the protests, and he was authorized to discuss these plans in public and requested anonymity.
L. Felice Gorordo, CEO of eMerge Americas will also be present; Ana Sofía Peláez, founder of the Miami Freedom Project, and Manny Díaz, former Mayor of Miami, will also be present.
The White House did not provide more details, only that it will discuss new sanctions and ways to establish Internet access for the Cuban people.
Internet access is a sensitive issue CubaA few days before the recent protests, there were calls on social media for anti-government demonstrations. CubaThe government stated that anti-Castro organizations in the United States have used social media, especially Twitter, to oppose it, and accused Twitter of not taking any measures to stop it.
During the July 11 protests, Internet services were cut off for a while, although the Cuban authorities did not explicitly admit that they did so.
Some US leaders, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, said that the White House should take steps to maintain Internet services in the United States. Cuba, Including using balloons as people’s Wi-Fi access points.
Human Rights Watch Americas Department Director Hese Miguel Vivanco said that Internet access is protected Cuba It must be one of the top tasks of the Biden administration.
“The increasing Internet access on the island is a real revolution. It allows people to communicate, organize protests, and report abuse almost immediately-which was impossible a few years ago,” he told The Associated Press .
Regarding the sanctions, Vivanco stated that their value is “mainly symbolic” because it is unrealistic to think that they can change the situation on the island alone.He said a way to stop human rights violations Cuba It is a “multilateral and coordinated condemnation” while moving towards ending the current embargo policy.
In addition to the Internet, the Biden administration is also considering suggestions made by American advocates for trade with the United States. Cuba This will restore the way Cuban Americans send money to relatives on the island.
Due to paying a certain percentage of transaction fees to the government, Biden and others refused to fully resume remittances. But according to supporters, according to a proposal under consideration, the transfer agent will waive this fee before the end of the year.
However, the proposal must be approved by the Cuban government, and it is completely unclear whether it will agree to it.
Last week, the US government announced sanctions against Cuban Armed Forces Minister Álvaro López Miera and the Special Brigade of the Ministry of the Interior-known as “black berets”-for participating in arresting protesters.
International organizations severely criticized the Cuban government, saying that while people affected by the country’s crisis participated in the protests, “criminals” took advantage of the situation to create riots. Sometimes the protests turned into acts of vandalism such as robbery, robbery and confrontation with the police.
Government sympathizers also took to the streets to defend the authorities and the revolution.
So far, it is not clear how many people have been detained, although the judicial authorities have stated that 19 trials have been conducted, involving 59 people.
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