The administration of President Joe Biden, both formally and via anonymous reports, announced twin policies to ease the financial misfortunes of the communist government of Cuba and its proxy socialist government in Venezuela, leaving leaders in both communities dismayed and confused.
The State Department announced a series of measures on Tuesday that would create a cash windfall for the Castro regime: the return of an exemption to the barely existent embargo known as “group people-to-people” travel – effectively legalizing tourism in groups to the island if disguised as “educational” – and the lifting of caps on sending remittances to the island set in place under former President Donald Trump. Tourism and remittances are key sources of revenue for the communist regime, whose military maintains a stranglehold on everything from money wiring enterprises to luxury hotels.
Later that day, multiple reports quoting anonymous Biden administration sources revealed that the White House would soon allow the oil corporation Chevron to resume business talks with Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), the Venezuelan regime-run oil company, and that it would lift sanctions on one person: socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro’s nephew, a former PDVSA official.
Both announcements preceded widely derided talks with both regimes. In March, Biden sent a delegation to Caracas to discuss, reports claimed, potentially resuming the purchase of Venezuelan oil to offset sanctions on Russia. Since Venezuela’s regime is heavily indebted to Russia, any payment for Venezuelan oil would likely go directly to Moscow, anyway. A month later, Biden’s team held a meeting with the Castro regime, reportedly to discuss refugees fleeing the island in droves after the violent repression of suspected political dissidents — including the shooting of suspected supporters of democracy at point-blank range in their own homes — and heading to the southern border. After President Barack Obama ended the “wet foot/dry foot” policy that allowed Cubans who made the 90-mile sea voyage to Florida to stay in the country legally, Cubans began using visa-free travel to countries like Guyana and Nicaragua to take the routes human traffickers control out of South America to Texas.