Biden Says U.S. May Restore Protesting Cubans’ Internet Access

President Joe Biden said the U.S. is examining whether it’s able to restore internet access the Cuban government shut off in the wake of protests, and called the country a “failed state.”

Biden said his administration is “considering whether we have the technological ability to reinstate” internet access on the island. But he said U.S. capability to assist Cuban citizens either economically or with coronavirus vaccines is limited out of concern the country’s government would interfere with the aid.

“There are a number of things that we would consider doing to help the people of Cuba, but it would require a different circumstance or a guarantee that they would not be taken advantage of by the government,” he said at a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House on Thursday.

He gave the example of financial remittances from Cubans in the U.S. to relatives on the island, which he said he wouldn’t allow out of concern the Havana government would confiscate the money. Similarly, he said he can’t yet provide the country with coronavirus vaccines.

“I would be prepared to give significant amounts of vaccine if, in fact, I was assured an international organization would administer those vaccines and do it in a way that average citizens would have access to those vaccines,” he said.

Republicans have criticized the Biden administration’s response to anti-government protests in Cuba, challenging the president to offer stronger denunciations of the nation’s communist regime.

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