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#332815 - 04/13/09 02:15 PM Obama eases restrictions to Cuba
skippy Offline
Americans will now be allowed unlimited visits and money transfers to family in the communist country

Daniel Nasaw in Washington guardian.co.uk, Monday 13 April 2009 18.35 BST Article history

Barack Obama will today ease travel and remittance restrictions to Cuba, in a long-awaited move to thaw relations with the island nation.

The action signals a change in direction after decades of strict sanctions imposed the communist country, which lies just 90 miles off the coast of Florida, and fulfils a promise Obama made during the campaign. Under the new rules, Americans will be allowed unlimited visits and money transfers to family in Cuba. A formal announcement is expected this afternoon at the daily press briefing.

White House officials told media the policy change is intended to make Cubans less dependent on the Castro regime, and to foster democracy on the island by giving Cubans more contact with Americans. About 1.5 million Americans have relatives in Cuba.

Currently, family visits to Cuba are limited to one every three years. The US also limits the amount of money Americans may spend in Cuba to $50 per day, and caps at $300 the amount Americans may bring to relatives. According to the US state department, remittances form a significant role in the country's economy, totalling between $600m to $1bn per year, with most coming from families in the US.

Also today, Obama directed his administration to expand the list of items allowed in gift parcels sent to Cuba. It will include clothes, personal hygiene items, seeds, fishing gear and other necessities, the Associated Press announced.

The policy shift comes days before Obama heads to Trinidad and Tobago for summit of the Americas talks. It is expected to bring howls of protest from hardline congressmen and senators who say the infusions of hard currency will only strengthen the Castro regime.

But the influence of the anti-Castro Cuban expatriate community in Florida has waned in recent years as a younger generation of Cuban-Americans with less animosity toward Fidel Castro and his brother and successor Raķl comes of age.

Last week, a delegation of African-American congressmen visited Cuba and met with the Castros, an indication of congressional resolve to loosening sanctions. In addition, politicians from farm states are keen to open greater trade with Cuba.

The US economic embargo on Cuba dates back to October 1960. President Dwight Eisenhower broke diplomatic relations with Fidel Castro in January 1961.

It's a start
I hope that someday we can put aside our fears and prejudices and just laugh at people.

#332872 - 04/14/09 08:48 AM Re: Obama eases restrictions to Cuba [Re: skippy]
Otteralum Offline
Despite what I see as a good move overall, I see a negative impact on Belize tourism here.
I will have a Belikin -- put it on klcman's tab.

#332879 - 04/14/09 09:52 AM Re: Obama eases restrictions to Cuba [Re: skippy]
azbob Offline
Mixed feelings. The Castroís are an oppressive dictatorship where human rights are decided by F & R. But, 40+ years of embargos and sanctions have not worked. The new policy will allow more money to flow from Cuban-Americans to their families still in Cuba and unlimited travel. Letís see if Cuba allows this, or will they just take the money. No one knows if this will work and years from now help bring an end to the dictatorship.

For myself, I will not travel to Cuba, now or in the future. Iíll save my travel money for Belize.
"Hold on Tight To Your Dreams" ELO

#332883 - 04/14/09 10:08 AM Re: Obama eases restrictions to Cuba [Re: azbob]
JeanH Offline
I can't wait for the chance to return to Cuba. I'm not usually a city person, but Havana is a very special place.

The embargo has been a failed policy for many years. It's time for it to go away.

I just don't think it's right that the US government can tell me not to visit another country.

#332889 - 04/14/09 10:24 AM Re: Obama eases restrictions to Cuba [Re: Otteralum]
skippy Offline
Originally Posted By: Otteralum
Despite what I see as a good move overall, I see a negative impact on Belize tourism here.

That was my first thought as well. Of course, tourism is a ways off yet. The BTB might push harder to promote Belize in the interim.
I hope that someday we can put aside our fears and prejudices and just laugh at people.

#332890 - 04/14/09 10:37 AM Re: Obama eases restrictions to Cuba [Re: skippy]
Marty Online   happy
its a start is right. WAY OVERDUE. we deal with every country in the world except.... Cuba???? are we NUTS?????

Love it there. Beautiful. Belize tourism will be fine.


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