"The White House is finally paying attention": Cuba’s protests force Biden’s hand

And they come as concerns within the White House about Cuba have grown in recent days, according to two people in touch with administration officials. Before the protests, U.S. officials were looking at what they could do to ease the Cuban people’s suffering, one of the people, a Cuba analyst, told POLITICO. That included possibly easing travel restrictions as well as limits on people’s ability to send money to relatives and others on the island — changes Biden himself discussed on the campaign trail.

“They are concerned about the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Cuba and the possibility that it could spill over into a migratory crisis,” said the analyst, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe sensitive conversations. “I know that the White House is finally paying attention.”

In recent months, the number of Cuban migrants coming by land and sea has grown significantly. More than 500 Cuban migrants have been intercepted and repatriated this fiscal year, up from 49 in 2020 and 313 in 2019, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.