U.S.-Cuba Business Council Alert

Thursday, July 22, 2021 - 7:15pm

White House Issues Statement and Fact Sheet on U.S.-Cuba Relations

Today the White House issued a statement in response to the protests in Cuba last week. President Biden renewed his administration's commitment towards re-staffing the U.S. Embassy in Havana, working to find ways to reinstate remittances, and expanding access to Internet on the island. The White House's stance on Cuba also recognizes the importance of engaging the private sector and Cuban-American leaders to accomplish these goals. These are positive developments and include some of the policy recommendations we had presented to the U.S. Department of State recently. In addition to these measures, the U.S. Department of the Treasury added one Cuban individual and one Cuban entity directly involved in suppressing protestors to its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions list. (For a complete summary of today's announcements, read the Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Measures on Cuba here.)

The USCBC is in contact with the U.S. Department of State to advocate for a consultative process that includes private sector inputs. We will continue to monitor these measures and keep you posted of any further developments. Please contact the Executive Director of the USCBC, Renata Vasconcellos, at rvasconcellos@uschamber.com if you have any questions. 

The White House's full statement is reprinted below:

Statement by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on Continuing Crackdown in Cuba

I unequivocally condemn the mass detentions and sham trials that are unjustly sentencing to prison those who dared to speak out in an effort to intimidate and threaten the Cuban people into silence. The Cuban people have the same right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly as all people. The United States stands with the brave Cubans who have taken to the streets to oppose 62 years of repression under a communist regime.
 
Today, my Administration is imposing new sanctions targeting elements of the Cuban regime responsible for this crackdown—the head of the Cuban military and the division of the Cuban Ministry of the Interior driving the crackdown—to hold them accountable for their actions. This is just the beginning–the United States will continue to sanction individuals responsible for oppression of the Cuban people.
 
As we hold the Cuban regime accountable, our support for the Cuban people is unwavering and we are making sure Cuban Americans are a vital partner in our efforts to provide relief to suffering people on the Island. We are working with civil society organizations and the private sector to provide internet access to the Cuban people that circumvents the regime’s censorship efforts. We are reviewing our remittance policy to determine how we can maximize support to the Cuban people. And we are committed to restaffing our embassy in Havana to provide consular services to Cubans and enhance our ability to engage with civil society, while ensuring the safety of U.S. diplomats serving in Cuba.
 
Advancing human dignity and freedom is a top priority for my Administration, and we will work closely with our partners throughout the region, including the Organization of American States, to pressure the regime to immediately release wrongfully detained political prisoners, restore internet access, and allow the Cuban people to enjoy their fundamental rights.