Cubans living in the US will soon be able to visit the island more frequently after the White House eased travel restrictions. In a major policy shift, the Obama administration is also allowing Cubans to send more money back to family members in the Communist state.
“All who embrace core democratic values long for a Cuba that respects the basic human, political and economic rights of all of its citizens,” said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. “President Obama believes the measure he has taken today will help make that goal a reality.” At present, US-based Cubans can only travel to the island once a year and send the equivalent of just 900 euros per person to relatives. The change in policy has been welcomed in Havana. “It will be good because my company will have more business and when there is more business, there is more income,” said one taxi driver. The decades-old trade embargo will remain in place but US telecommunications companies will be allowed to bid for Cuban licences. Even here, the Obama effect is being felt.