For those that have wanted to either visit or start trade with Cuba, man do I have good news for you!
In what is easily the biggest change to US’ half-century embargo against Cuba, the Obama administration made it easier to travel to Cuba and lifted many of the export embargos starting Friday. The changes come after President Obama announced that he would start to open up relations with Cuba late last year.
While Americans will still be required to go on “supervised group trips”, many of the barriers for travel would be lifted. As for lifting many parts of the export embargo, American companies can now send a wide range of technologies (ie computers and Internet tech) to firms stationed in Cuba. While general tourism is strictly prohibited for Americans, as the Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew hinted at today, the lifted embargos would primarily help businesses that have infrastructure in Cuba already. The Obama administration hopes that the lifting of these specific embargos will eventually open up Cuba economically and culturally, much like how it has opened up China to the rest of the world. It’s still unsure however how comfortable Cuba is with allowing such technological access to its people.
If you’re wondering, “why doesn’t the Obama administration just lift the Cuban embargo entirely”, that would be because only Congress has that kind of power. Considering many in the GOP have major objections to having relations with Cuba, the complete lifting of the embargo is unlikely in this congressional term. But for the Obama administration, they look at this as a start to finally normalizing relations.