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US says it will reopen consulate in Cuba

United States Consulate, closed since 2017, resumes limited visa issuance HavanaCuba, said on Thursday.

The consulate “will begin the limited resumption of some immigrant visa services, as part of a gradual expansion of embassy functions,” said Timothy Zuniga-Brown, charge d’affaires with the US diplomatic mission in Havana.

The US reduced its mission to the bare minimum in September 2017, when then-US President Donald Trump accused Havana of carrying out “sonic attacks” on embassy personnel in 2016 and 2017.

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The staff there and their families had suffered from mysterious illnesses.

Similar incidents later occurred at other embassies around the world.

The closure of the consulate was a major blow to Cubans seeking to immigrate to the US as it forced them to tackle numerous obstacles, including being forced to travel to Colombia or Guyana to apply.

Zuniga-Brown said the consulate will only schedule appointments with people who have already submitted full document files, but most requests will still have to be made in the Guyanese capital, Georgetown, during the transition period.

The consular service will also provide essential services to US The Vanir-exoduss and emergency visas for non-immigrants, he added.

Under existing immigration agreements, the US must grant 20,000 immigrant visas per year to Cubans.

With Cuba experiencing its worst economic crisis in 30 years due to the coronavirus pandemic, most Cubans hoping to immigrate to the US have chosen to do so via the perilous Central American route where migrants face numerous dangers, including exploitation by people smugglers.

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