News / USA

    Obama’s Efforts to Ease US Restrictions on Cuba

    People gather on the street in Old Havana.
    People gather on the street in Old Havana.
    VOA News

    President Barack Obama has been rolling back restrictions on Cuba as he furthers his bid to restore ties.  Below is a list of what his administration has done to increase engagement with Cuba:

    - Loosened travel restrictions to allow Americans to go on educational, "people-to-people" trips. The formal tourism ban remains.

    - Eliminated a ban on Cuban financial transactions going through U.S. banks.

    - Allowed Cubans to open U.S. bank accounts and use them to send remittances back home.

    - Removed Cuba from the U.S. list of countries with inadequate port security, making it easier for ships to travel between the two countries.

    - Started restoring direct mail service. The first flight left the U.S. just before Obama's trip as part of a pilot project.

    - Authorized some U.S. cruise lines to sail to Cuba. They're waiting for Cuban approval.

    A woman uses Wi-Fi in a public area to access the Internet, in Havana, Cuba.
    A woman uses Wi-Fi in a public area to access the Internet, in Havana, Cuba.

    - Struck an agreement to restore commercial flights.

    - Authorized exports of goods from construction materials to tractor parts.

    - Allowed Cuban citizens to start earning salaries in the United States without having to start the immigration process, as long as they don't pay special taxes in Cuba.

    - Reopened the U.S. Embassy in Havana. Cuba also reopened its embassy in Washington.

    - Released three Cubans jailed in the U.S., while Cuba released American Alan Gross.

    - Sat down with Cuban President Raul Castro in Panama in the first face-to-face meeting between a U.S. and Cuban leader in decades.

    - Started high-level exchanges and visits between U.S. and Cuban officials.

    - Removed Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

    - Authorized the commercial export of some communications and Internet devices including software, hardware and services.

    - Allowed unlimited family visits by Cuban-Americans.

    - Urged Congress unsuccessfully to lift the U.S. trade embargo.

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