The U.S. Senate has passed a bill that eases some sanctions against Cuba. The move allows Cuban-Americans to travel once a year to Cuba instead of every three years and send more money to the communist-ruled island. But the measure only passed after the Treasury Secretary cajoled two members of the Democratic party – raising questions about how easy it will be for President Obama to change Cuba policy.
Opponents of the trade embargo have described the legislation as a “small but important” step towards changing policy over Cuba. Feelings echoed by some on the streets of Havana. Artist, Joan Gonzalez Reyes, said: “I see these signs as very positive because we need to communicate with each other, we can’t continue living with this psychological and political block.” But construction worker, Pedro Perez Oliva was pessimistic. “This is nothing more than a change in president. It’s always the same thing. They start off well and by the end, nothing changes,” he said. The measures are part of a 320-billion euro bill to fund US government operations that had to pass to keep the government running. Curbs on sending medicines and food have also been eased.