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U.S. to ramp up staffing at Havana Embassy to process some visas -Breaking

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A safety guard stands exterior the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, December 12, 2017. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini/File Picture

By Dave Sherwood

HAVANA (Reuters) – The U.S. Embassy in Havana introduced on Thursday it will ramp up staffing and resume some visa processing a number of years after the Trump administration slashed personnel on the facility following a spate of unexplained well being incidents.

The highest U.S. diplomat in Havana, Timothy Zuñiga-Brown, made the announcement at a information convention, confirming a Reuters report from Monday.

The deployment of further consular officers to Havana, a results of President Joe Biden’s ongoing evaluation of Cuba coverage, will start to deal with a greater than four-year backlog of requests for immigration visas by Cubans with household in the USA.

It additionally marks a uncommon step by the Biden administration to ease restrictions on communist-led Cuba imposed by former Republican President Donald Trump, who rolled again the historic rapprochement overseen by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.

Simply previous to the announcement, the Cuban authorities issued a press release to Reuters slamming the Trump-era coverage as unjustified and dangerous to U.S-Cuba ties.

“Over 5 years, that call has had very damaging penalties for your entire Cuban inhabitants, in addition to for Individuals,” stated the assertion signed by Ines Fors, head of U.S.-Cuba bilateral relations.

The assertion didn’t straight deal with the announcement to ramp up staffing, and Zuñiga-Brown didn’t present a timeline or numbers.

A U.S. Embassy assertion issued after Zuñiga-Brown’s announcement harassed a “restricted resumption of some immigrant visa companies” in Havana. It added that Cuban immigrant visas will nonetheless be processed primarily on the U.S. Embassy in Guyana, whereas Havana workplaces will deal with different consular companies and “restricted emergency non-immigrant visa processing.”

Trump sharply scaled again embassy employees in 2017 after some employees in Havana turned unwell with what has turn out to be generally known as “Havana syndrome.” The unexplained sicknesses first affected U.S. staff within the Cuban capital however later cropped up in different components of the world.

The Cuban authorities has lengthy denied any involvement or data of the incidents.

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