The Obama administration has no intention of slowing down its Cuba initiatives. The American flag was raised over the U.S. Embassy in Havana for the first time in 54 years last week, and news services are today (Aug. 18) reporting that the administration plans to soon “unilaterally lift travel restrictions to Cuba.”
An ABC News report stated “that the Treasury Department is now developing new regulations that would allow all Americans to travel to Cuba as individuals.” At present, the only way an American citizen can travel to Cuba is in tour groups known as “people to people” exchanges that are organized by third party arrangers. These tours must fall under one of 12 categories that are licensed by the U.S. government – for example, art and culture, or persons interested in exploring Cuba’s environmental initiatives.
Earlier today The Wall Street Journal also reported that the “Obama administration is working to reach a deal with Cuba by year’s end that would allow travelers to fly on scheduled commercial flights between the countries.” Currently, only charter flights from a limited number of locations are licensed to carry travelers to Cuba.
“While no specific timetable exists for the aviation agreement,” reported both ABC and the Journal, “it could come as soon as the end of the year.”
“Americans going to Cuba would still have to fall into one of the 12 pre-approved licenses to travel, but would merely attest to compliance on-line or at the airport as they buy a ticket,” reported ABC News.
Also in the works, reported ABC News, is that Obama intends to loosen credit to Cuba so that it can buy U.S. goods – especially in the area of agriculture. It is now legal to sell food to Cuba, but it must pay in cash.
“The president also plans on unilaterally giving banks cover to allow use of credit cards, which is already supposed to be happening but is not because banks have been cautious,” reported ABC News.
Progreso Weekly, August 18, 2015