Five years after it was closed due to mysterious “sonic attacks” on diplomatic staff, the US consulate in Havana resumes full immigrant visa services for Cubans on Wednesday.
The reopening comes amid a record exodus from the communist island to the United States, mainly by undocumented migrants, as Cuba suffers its worst economic crisis in 30 years.
“The United States is working to ensure safe, legal, and orderly migration of Cubans by expanding consular operations in Havana and restarting the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program (CFRP),” the embassy said in a statement last week.
The consulate would open fully for “immigrant visa processing,” though tourist visas remain off-limits for now.
The consulate was closed under the Donald Trump administration after diplomatic staff and their families fell ill with symptoms later nicknamed Havana Syndrome.
US missions in other countries also subsequently claimed to have been targeted, but the exact nature of the alleged attacks remains a mystery.
The closure of the consulate meant that Cubans seeking to travel to the United States faced an expensive administrative obstacle course.
They had to travel to a third country, usually Guyana in the north of South America, to submit visa requests.