SMA NEWS – WASHINGTON
Calling Cuba a failed and repressive state, US President Joe Biden said he was looking at ways to provide internet access to Cubans, but not allowing remittances or lifting the embargo that has strangled the island for decades.
“Communism is a failed system, a universally failed system. I don’t see socialism as a very useful substitute, but that’s another story,” Biden told a reporter on Thursday, answering a question on Cuba during his joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was visiting Washington.
“Cuba is unfortunately a failed state and repressing their citizens,” Biden added.
The US leader said there were “a number of things” his government was considering to help Cubans, but “they would require a different circumstance or a guarantee that they would not be taken advantage of by the government” of the island.
Allowing Cuban-Americans to send money to relatives was out of the question, he said, because it was “highly likely that the regime would confiscate those remittances or big chunks of it.”
Biden said he was willing to give a “significant amount of vaccine” to Cuba if some international organization would administer them “in a way that average citizens would have access to those vaccines.” The demonstrations that broke out across the island on Sunday were reportedly sparked by the spread of Covid-19 and lack of vaccination.
At this point, Biden chose to answer a question that wasn’t asked, noting that the Cuban government had “cut off access to the internet” and that his administration was “considering whether we have the technological ability to reinstate that access.”
The phrasing he used comes right out of a letter by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The Republican governor wrote to the White House on Wednesday, asking the president to “act immediately” to allow American businesses to “provide internet access for the people of Cuba.”