Obama Administration Plans To Ease Travel Restrictions To Cuba

Havana, Cuba.
Havana, Cuba.
Havana, Cuba.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — The Obama administration is considering easing some travel restrictions to Cuba, in a move that officials say they hope will help advance democratic reform under the Castro regime.

The move would allow American students, educators and researchers to visit Cuba, but would keep intact the 50-year-old trade embargo.

“Right now they [in the White House and the State Department] are just fine-tuning what they are going to be putting out,” said Sarah Stephens, executive director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

The new developments would allow for Americans to go to Cuba on academic, cultural or religious exchanges, which is similar to the easing of restrictions during the Clinton administration in the mid-1990s.

“These are not revolutionary. They’re not going to cause political blowback. Because we did all this stuff before” under Clinton, said one congressional staff member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to The Washington Post.

However, some Cuban-American lawmakers strongly oppose the loosening of restrictions and the improving of U.S. ties with Cuba, which have been in a diplomatic rut since the the 1959 revolution.

Relations have improved since Raúl Castro took over power from his brother Fidel in 2008, culminating in this year’s July release of 52 political prisoners.

Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch

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