Analysis: The Biden easing measures – why now?

By Domingo Amuchastegui

Fiat Lux!

On Monday, May 16 the Biden administration — after almost two years of open hostility against the Cuban government — suddenly presented a package of easing measures. Described as a first step towards normalization by some, it introduces changes aimed at improving bilateral ties, in order to “support the Cuban people” and “protect the national security interests of the United States”, according to the State Department.

Why now? Because the Summit of the Americas is just around the corner, and Joe Biden urgently needs to appease the growing ranks of rebellious heads of government who threaten to abstain from that forum if his administration excludes Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. In this regard Mark Feierstein, a former USAID advisor, shows good aim: “It’s possible this is a signal to Mexico and others that the administration is preparing to revise its policy toward Cuba, but not necessarily willing to invite Cuba to the summit”. Not coincidentally, the European Union congratulated the United States for these measures, thus giving it an important dose of support before the summit.

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