US issues visas in Cuba for first time in more than four years

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The United States embassy in Cuba began issuing visas for the first time in more than four years after disruption due to alleged sonic attacks against its diplomatic personnel, and at a time when the island is experiencing increasing emigration.

A small group of people was seen gathered outside the consular section of the embassy in Havana on Tuesday.

“Welcome to the embassy after so much time,” said a Cuban employee told the group waiting for their appointments.

Washington closed its consular services in the Cuban capital in 2017 after US personnel and their families suffered from mystery illnesses subsequently known as “Havana Syndrome“.

A US government report in 2020 said the illnesses suffered by staff and their families were most likely caused by “directed, pulsed radiofrequency (RF) energy”.

The closure was a huge blow to many Cubans hoping to emigrate to the US and escape the economic woes of their island nation.

“We’re hoping that everything goes well. I’ve been waiting three years for this to rejoin my daughter” who is in the US, said one man who spoke on condition of anonymity. “I haven’t seen her for seven years.”

The move comes after the US held its highest-level diplomatic talks with Cuba late last month. Ties between the two countries faced severe disruption during the administration of former US President Donald Trump.

 

 

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