On Tuesday, the U.S. embassy in Havana resumed processing visas for Cuban migrants to this country, a service suspended since 2017.
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At least five citizens with the previous appointment waited outside the U.S. embassy for this procedure, which has only been carried out in the embassy of Georgetown (Guyana) in the last four years.
On March 3, the U.S. chargé d'affaires in Cuba, Timothy Zuñiga-Brown, announced that the consulate in Havana would start processing immigrants gradually in May.
He explained that applicants in the IR-5 category (father or mother of an American citizen) would have priority. Cubans who had applied for their visa after April 1 in Guyana will be attending the Embassy in Havana.
In 2017, the United States withdrew staff from its embassy in Cuba and halted consular proceedings after claiming its diplomatic representation suffered alleged sonic attacks by national authorities.
This policy and the strengthening of the U.S. blockade against the Island have forced thousands of Cubans to migrate irregularly. According to the United States Customs and Border Protection (USCBP), 79.800 Cuban migrants were detained at the U.S.-Mexico border from February to March.
“The expansion of consular services in Havana is an important step forward in normalizing bilateral relations and preventing irregular migration flows,” Cuba’s Vice Foreign Affairs Minister Josefina Vidal stated.