The United States is examining potential ways to aid the people of Cuba following anti-government protests this month that were the biggest on the island nation in decades.
Senior administration officials who spoke to news agencies on the condition of anonymity said the steps under consideration include changes to remittances that would allow people in the United States to send money to their family in Cuba without the Cuban government taking a portion.
Other potential actions include ways to make it easier to access the internet, working with international organizations to provide more humanitarian aid, and increasing U.S. Embassy staff in Havana.
The State Department reduced the number of staff at the embassy by more than half in 2017 after more than 40 American diplomats serving in Cuba said they suffered persistent ear pain, headaches, and problems with memory, concentration, balance and sleeping in 2016. The Trump administration said the injuries resulted from what it termed a “sonic attack.”
The Biden administration has not publicly announced any intended actions, but it has been conducting an ongoing review of U.S.-Cuba policies. The White House said Monday several officials met with a group of Cuban American leaders “to listen to their policy recommendations and concern.”
A White House statement stressed that addressing the current situation in Cuba “is a top priority.”
State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters Monday that the administration is concerned about human rights, democracy and civil rights.
“That’s precisely what you’re seeing and what we have said in the mechanisms of support over the years that the United States has provided to the Cuban people, and it is precisely what we mean when we say that we will consider additional forms of support, including any humanitarian support for the Cuban people,” Price said.