US Embassy in Cuba resumes consular operations
Washington closed its consular services in the Cuban capital in 2017 after American employees and their families contracted a mysterious illness known as “Havana Syndrome”.
A 2020 US government report says the illness employees and their families are likely to suffer from is the impact of directional and pulsed radiofrequency energy.
One man, who did not want to be named, said: “We hope everything goes well. I have been waiting for this for 3 years to be reunited with my daughter. I have not seen her in 7 years.”
A security guard stands outside the US Embassy in Havana. Photo: Reuters
According to Al Jazeera channel, the move comes after the US held the highest-level diplomatic talks with Cuba late last month. Relations between the two countries faced a serious collapse under the administration of former US President Donald Trump.
In March, the US announced it would begin a “limited” and “gradual” reopening of its embassies and consular services and would begin processing a large number of visa applications. of Cubans with families in the United States.
The US Embassy in Cuba will begin issuing IR-5 visas, a type of visa for people whose parents are US citizens. Cubans who applied for IR-5 visas after April 1 said their interviews would take place in Havana instead of Guyana’s capital, Georgetown.
Relations remain strained between the two nations under US President Joe Biden over migration, the ongoing US sanctions on the Caribbean island nation. Cuba is also asking the US to follow through on a bilateral immigration agreement that grants 20,000 US visas a year to Cuba.
Cuba is experiencing its worst economic recession in nearly 30 years, largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic and a drop in tourism.
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