Thursday, January 15, 2015

Have Cigar Will Travel

From the BBC:
"US-Cuba travel and trade: New rules start on Friday"

New travel and trade rules between the US and Cuba are to take effect on Friday, US officials say.
Measures include allowing US citizens to use credit cards in Cuba and for US businesses to export some technologies. Americans will be able to take home up to $100 (£66) in alcohol and tobacco from Cuba. Correspondents say it means the US ban on Cuban cigars is over. It comes after the two countries agreed last month to restore diplomatic relations severed since 1961.Although the latest moves put a large dent in the US trade embargo against Cuba, only Congress can lift it completely.
Earlier this week, US officials said Cuba had completed the release of 53 political prisoners agreed as part of the historic deal. "Today's announcement takes us one step closer to replacing out-of-date policies that were not working and puts in place a policy that helps promote political and economic freedom for the Cuban people," said US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew in a statement. Under the new regulations, US citizens will be allowed to travel to Cuba for any of a dozen specific reasons without obtaining first a special licence from the US government. US firms will also find it easier to export mobile phones and software to Cuba, as well as provide internet services there. The thaw in relations between the two countries was announced last month in simultaneous televised speeches by President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro.

^ I'm not sure why these changes are happening so quickly, but hopefully it will mean things will be better for both countries - more importantly for the US. Cuba hasn't been a threat for over 50 years. ^

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