U.S. Havana embassy resumes limited visa services in Cuba

The United States embassy in Havana is preparing to issue emigrant visas in a limited and gradual manner, the charge d’affaires Timothy Zúñiga-Brown reported last week.

In a meeting with the press, the diplomat pointed out that the Consular Section in this capital will continue to provide essential services to U.S. citizens and limited processing of emergency visas for non-immigrants.

According to various media reports, while working towards this goal, the U.S. embassy in Guyana will continue to be the main place of processing for visa applicants for Cuban migrants.

The decision was announced after months of an ongoing Twitter campaign asking the United States government to resume consular work at its embassy in Havana, carrying the message hashtag #ConsularServicesInCuba.

The Trump administration closed its consular services in Havana, and reduced the staff of the embassy dramatically, under the pretext of unexplained health incidents reported here in 2017 by U.S. diplomats. To date science has found no cause and reports from the U.S. State Department revealed government mismanagement.

That decision had an impact on the suspension of the family reunification program and the granting of visas, since Cubans are forced to go to third countries for all their procedures, which increases costs and provides no certainty of approval.

In addition, according to Cuban authorities, the cessation of legal channels and the strengthening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade which took place under the Trump administration stimulate irregular migration from the island, to the point of putting lives at risk.