Monday, April 13, 2009

Obama eases Cuba travel restrictions

President Obama is directing his administration to lift some restrictions that will allow Cuban Americans to travel more freely to Cuba. Cuban-Americans will also be allowed to send more money to relatives in Cuba. The decision does not lift the trade embargo on communist Cuba.

The move was officially announced at a news briefing Monday afternoon. Last month, Obama signed a spending bill that eases some economic sanctions on Cuba.

The president has indicated he would be open to dialogue with Cuba's leaders. But he has said that, like previous American presidents, he will only consider a full lifting of the embargo once Cuba's communist government makes significant moves such as the holding of democratic elections.

Cuba's President Raul Castro has said he is prepared to negotiate with the new U.S. administration, providing there are no preconditions.

The announcement comes as the president prepares to leave Thursday for the Summit of the America's in Trinidad and Tobago, and a stop in Mexico.

Meanwhile, the Miami Herald has some advice for anyone thinking of traveling to Cuba: take plenty of cash.

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Andre said...

This is a GREAT move by the Obama administration. It's long past the time that the U.S. open itself to Cuba. The embargoes that fueled the Castronian anti-American sentiment could become a thing of the past.

Besides, I've always wanted to visit Havana.

Deb S. said...

Andre: Thanks for weighing in on this. It will be interesting to see if hard-liners (those opposed to this action) will stir up controversy over this.

About the visit to Havana: Maybe you could organize a junket for bloggers. ;-)

Ian Lidster said...

I really do hope this all comes to pass. About time it is. I was in HS at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis when we nearly went into a nuclear holocaust, so it has all been chilling through most of the years of my life. Kudos to Obama on this one.

Deb S. said...

Ian: I also would like to see this idea move forward.