Joe Biden’s administration has reiterated its “serious concern” over the Cuban government’s actions to “silence” protests on the island.

U.S. President Joe Biden will defend the human rights of Cubans in a meeting with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Wednesday, after the South American leader harshly criticized the embargo on the island.

In the meeting, which will also take place in New York, headquarters city of the UN, Biden will underline the “responsibility” that his government has with the “human rights of the Cuban people”, according to a high-ranking official of the White House in a call with journalists.

The Democratic administration, he stressed, is “seriously concerned” about actions by the Cuban government to “silence” protests on the island and “maintain authoritarian control.”

“What has not happened and needs to happen is a conversation among the Cuban people about their future” said the official, who cited the June 2021 demonstrations as an example.

The official also referred to Lula’s criticism of the U.S. embargo on the island, made during the Brazilian’s speech on Tuesday at the OU General Assembly.

The source pointed out that the decision to maintain it or not “is up to the U.S. Congress” and added that the Democratic Administration has carried out “important changes” with respect to the policy towards Cuba.

Among them, he mentioned the work towards “a complete restoration of consular services” in Havana and the opening of remittances.

In recent days, U.S. media have reported that Washington will soon allow Cuban businessmen to open bank accounts in the U.S. and access their money from outside the country.

The White House, however, has not yet confirmed the measure, which would be announced in the next few days.

These regulatory changes, however, would not mean a return to the era of the “thaw”, initiated in 2014 by then President Barack Obama (2009-2017) and his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, and which was cut short with the arrival in power in 2016 of Donald Trump (2017-2021).

Biden has made some conciliatory gestures towards the island, such as the elimination of the limit on remittances to Cuba, but remains far from Obama’s rapprochement.

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