US delegation is going to Cuba to discuss law enforcement

HAVANA (AP) — Another delegation from the United States will travel to Cuba this month to discuss law enforcement issues, the State Department said Fridaty.

The visit will marks another small step forward in improving an icy relationship between the two countries under the Biden administration.

“The growing international cooperation on the issue of law enforcement will allow the United States to better protect American citizens and bring multinational criminals to justice,” said a statement sent to The Associated Press by the State Department.

It will be the first delegation to travel to the island this year, following a small easing by the Biden administration of sanctions on Cuba that had been tightened under then President Donald Trump.

Officials in Washington and Havana offered no details about what the statement described as “constructive conversations” toward a “better coordination.”

Topics such as narcotrafficking, growing migration from Cuba, the handing over of American fugitives of decades past and terrorism could be up for discussion.

The officials traveling to Cuba will be from the State Department, Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. statement said.

In one of his final acts in office in 2020, Trump included Cuba on the U.S. blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism for providing refuge to leaders of a Colombian guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army, who have since left the island. The effect was adding more barriers to international trade with Cuba.

Biden officials have been hesitant to rebuild the relationship with the communist nation following the Cuban government’s harsh treatment of demonstrators in the island’s 2021 protests.

But a rising migratory wave from the island, with a growing number of Cubans arriving at the U.S. border with Mexico, has put political pressure on President Joe Biden to restart talks with the Cuban government.

In the final months of 2020, American officials made a handful of visits to the island to discuss migratory issues.

Other smaller steps have also been made, including an aid donation by the U.S. following a hurricane walloping the island in September and this week’s reopening by Western Union of limited money transfers to Cuba.

___

Associated Press writer Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.