Treasury Department removes dozens of Cuban companies from U.S. blacklist

In this March 13, 2015 photo, tourists ride a double-decker bus backdropped by an iron sculpture of Cuban revolutionary hero Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara on the facade of the Ministry of Interior in Revolution Square, in Havana, Cuba. Bookings to Cuba jumped 57 percent for one New York tour operator in the weeks after Washington said it would renew ties with Havana. In February, they were up 187 percent; and so far this month, nearly 250 percent. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

Dozens of Cuban companies are no longer on a U.S. blacklist.

In an effort to improve diplomatic relations with the communist island nation, the Treasury Department announced Tuesday that dozens of Cuban companies have been removed from a U.S. blacklist of terror supporters and narcotics traffickers.

Some of the firms taken off the Treasury Department’s “specifically designated nationals” list are linked to Cuba’s tourism industry, such as cruise lines and tour operators. Companies and individuals on this list are banned from doing business in the U.S.

The next step in opening up diplomatic ties would be removing Cuba’s government from a separate terrorism list. Then, the U.S. and Cuba would likely begin negotiations over re-establishing embassies in each other’s capitals.

In December, President Obama ordered restoration of full diplomatic relations with Cuba, which were severed in 1961. Days later, it was learned he would use executive action to remove restrictions against Cuba — including those on travel and commerce.

By Kelly Cohen, Washington Examiner

March 24, 2015

(h/t The Associated Press)


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