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Obama’s Efforts to Ease US Restrictions on Cuba

  • VOA News

People gather on the street in Old Havana.

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.