The Biden administration announced a sweeping reversal of Donald Trump’s hard-line approach to Cuba, expanding flights to the island, ramping up visa processing and allowing more support for local businesses and remittances inflows. The measures will make it easier for families to visit relatives in Cuba, and for authorised US travellers to engage with the Cuban people, attend meetings and conduct research, the State Department said. President Joe Biden also has ordered the department to increase staffing at the US embassy in Havana, and the administration has been working in recent months on a plan to do so, and protect employees from an illness known as Havana syndrome that afflicted personnel there, a senior administration official told reporters in a conference call. The measures include reviving a family-reunification programme that would allow more Cubans to immigrate to the US; adding flights to places beyond Havana; and providing more support for Cuban businesspeople, according to the State Department. Limits on US financial remittances to Cubans from family imposed under Trump will also be removed, a senior administration official said. “With these actions, we aim to support Cubans’ aspirations for freedom and for greater economic opportunities so that they can lead successful lives at home,” the State Department said. “We continue to call on the Cuban government to immediately release political prisoners, to respect the Cuban people’s fundamental freedoms and to allow the Cuban people to determine their own futures.” Cuba has presented a challenge for US presidents for more than six decades, with the Kennedy administration imposing a trade embargo that has proved enduring. Calls for the easing of sanctions have grown over the years, while many Cuban Americans and their allies have demanded even harsher measures against the Communist regime that has ruled the island since 1959. US to reopen Cuba consulate closed after mysterious Havana Syndrome attacks The moves come after Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador earlier this month urged Biden to invite Cuba to the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles early next month, and to lift economic sanctions against the island nation. A senior administration official said that the moves announced on Monday are unrelated to the summit, that no decision has been made about inviting Cuba, and that while the US will may discuss and debate with other countries who gets invited, ultimately it will be the Biden administration that decides whether to invite non-democratic governments. Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez called the announcement “a limited step in the right direction.” “The decision doesn’t modify the embargo, our fraudulent inclusion in the state sponsors of terrorism list or the majority of Trump’s coercive maximum pressure tactics that are still affecting the Cuban people,” he wrote on Twitter. Trump reversed a diplomatic warming that President Barack Obama began with Cuba, when Biden was vice-president. Trump cited the Cuban government’s behaviour, including support for US antagonists in the Western hemisphere. Biden’s moves aren’t quite a full rollback of the Trump policies, allowing visits by educational groups, but not restoring individual educational travel by Americans that was permitted under Obama, one senior administration official said. There are also continuing US suspicions about the mysterious ailment that’s plagued American diplomats globally and was first reported among employees of the Havana Embassy. A senior administration official said in the briefing that there is still no conclusion within the US government about the source of the affliction, which caused serious illness among some US diplomats.