US eases travel restrictions on Cuba

The US House of Representatives passed legislation on February 25, to ease trade and travel restrictions on Cuba, with the suggestion that in time, the process may go further.The new provision allows Cuban Americans to return and visit their relatives in Cuba once a year instead of every three years under the current bill which was enforced in 2004. While staying there, they can spend up to US$179/day, or US$129 more than the existing level.

Even though the provision does not lift the overall embargo against Cuba, it will allow the Latin American nation to directly pay US food and medicine companies for their imports, replacing the cash-in-advance rules which were imposed in 2005 under the Bush administration.

The provision needs the Senate’s approval before becoming law.

Last month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Obama administration wants to ease trade and travel restrictions on Cuba. She also pledged to review the US policy towards this nation.