Saturday, July 20, 2019

Obama Announces New Cuba Policy

According to a senior administration official, President Barack Obama will direct his administration to allow unlimited travel and money transfers by Cuban Americans to family in Cuba to ease U.S. restrictions on the island. The formal announcement will be made at the White House’s daily press briefing with Robert Gibbs.   The Wall Street Journal also reported that the administration will allow U.S. telecomm companies to apply for licenses to do business in Cuba for such services as setting up television and mobile-phone service.

With the changes, Obama aims to create a new space for the Cuban people in their quest for political freedom and a democratic government, in part by making them less dependent on the Castro regime.  About 1.5 million Americans have relatives in Cuba. Relatives will be loosely defined as up to the degree of second cousins.

Other changes include allowing gift parcels to be sent to Cuba, and issuing licenses to increase communications among and to the Cuban people.

During his campaign speech last May in Miami Obama said, “There are no better ambassadors for freedom than Cuban Americans. It’s time to let Cuban Americans see their mothers and fathers, their sisters and brothers. It’s time to let Cuban American money make their families less dependent upon the Castro regime.”

It has been known for over a week that Obama would announce his new Cuba policy in advance of his attendance this weekend at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.

The embargo will still be in place, and sending money to senior government officials and Communist Party members remains prohibited. Restrictions imposed by the Bush administration had limited Cuban travel by Americans to just two weeks every three years. Visits also were limited to immediate family members.

Obama also promised to engage in direct diplomacy with Cuba, “without preconditions” but with “careful preparation” and “a clear agenda.”

Associated Press

Wall Street Journal

Comments

  1. Sima Patel says

    It is sad to hear that at the very least parcels could not be sent to Cuba in the past. Therefore, I cannot begin to be able to understand the deep satisfaction Cuban Americans feel hearing the news that Obama is taking initial steps to allow now travel to Cuba. I think this signifies that our President truly cares to uphold peaceful and good international relations, keeping a promise from his election speech.