Cuba map
Imagery ©2016 TerraMetrics. Map data ©2016 courtesy of Google Maps.

Some Restrictions For Cuba Eased By the White House of the United States — But…

...but not relaxed enough for travel to become widely available between the two countries — yet.

Some of the policies, restrictions, and measures which the United States imposed against Cuba over the past 18 months will be eased to increase support for the Cuban people and safeguard our national security interests — including travel to the island nation and the lifting of the cap of $1,000.00 per quarter on family remittances; while ensuring that visiting the United States is easier for Cubans as more visas will be processed.

Some Restrictions For Cuba Eased By the White House of the United States — But…

According to this official transcript of the press briefing of Tuesday, May 17, 2022 from The White House of the United States — as also announced by Ned Price, who is the official spokesperson of the State Department of the United States — the series of four measures are as follows:

First, we’re going to reinstate the Cuba Family Reunification Parole Program and continue to increase the capacity for consular services.  So as you all saw, we began — resumed limited immigrant visa processing in early May and are looking to make sure that we staff up so that we can begin processing the full 20,000 immigrant visas out of Havana as quickly as possible.

Second, we will — we’re strengthening family ties and facilitating educational connections for American and Cuban people by expanding authorized travel. And on that, I’ll say specifically authorizing commercial and charter flights to locations beyond Havana. We are reinstating group people-to-people educational travel under a general license, among a number of other measures. We are not reinstating individual people-to-people educational travel.

Third, we are increasing support for independent Cuban entrepreneurs. That includes encouraging commercial opportunities outside the state sector by using their access — independent Cuban entrepreneurs’ access to the Internet, cloud technology, programming interfaces, e-commerce platforms, and a number of other measures, including access to microfinance and training.

And then lastly, we will ensure that remittances flow more freely to the Cuban people while not enriching those who perpetrate human rights abuses. And by that, I mean we are removing the limit on family remittances of $1,000 per quarter per sender/receiver pair. And we’ll authorize donative remittances, which will support Cuban families and independent Cuban entrepreneurs.

Six domestic airlines which are based in the United States were granted approval on Friday, June 10, 2016 to begin scheduled commercial flights between five origination cities in the United States and nine destination cities in Cuba for the first time in greater than 50 years — but despite the launch once again of commercial airline service between the United States and Cuba, significant limitations and requirements remained in place concerning air transportation and travel between the United States and Cuba. The arrangement facilitated visits for travelers that fell under one of twelve categories authorized by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Department of Treasury of the United States,

Final Boarding Call

The United States would not remove entities from the Cuba Restricted List of companies which are aligned with the government and military of Cuba  with whom companies and individuals who are based in the United States are prohibited from doing business. The list is maintained by the State Department of the United States.

Although authorized travel to Cuba will be expanded to allow scheduled and charter flights to use airports other than Havana — as well as reinstate some categories of group educational travel and certain travel related to professional meetings and research — these changes fall short of the aforementioned previous polices which were enacted in June of 2016 when travel to Cuba became widely available for citizens of the United States.

The easing of the policies between the United States and Cuba are aimed to support the aspirations for freedom by Cubans — as well as for greater economic opportunities so that they can lead successful lives at home…

…but as to when travel to and from Cuba will once again be widely available to citizens of the United States is still unknown at the time this article was written.

I have not yet been to Cuba; and I would be glad that I would not have to first stop over in another country in order to be able to do so — nor will I need to be concerned about violating any laws…

…but the potential downside is that a significant increase in tourism to Cuba could occur once the restrictions and policies become more relaxed, which could very well adversely affect the charm of the country.

Imagery ©2016 TerraMetrics. Map data ©2016 courtesy of Google Maps.

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