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Posted January 14, 2011 by publisher in Legal Travel to Cuba

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The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Reaching Out to the Cuban People

Today, President Obama has directed the Secretaries of State, Treasury, and Homeland Security to take a series of steps to continue efforts to reach out to the Cuban people in support of their desire to freely determine their country’s future.

The President has directed that changes be made to regulations and policies governing: 

1. Purposeful Travel

2. Remittances

3. U.S. airports supporting licensed charter flights to and from Cuba

These measures will increase people-to-people contact; support civil society in Cuba; enhance the free flow of information to, from, and among the Cuban people; and help promote their independence from Cuban authorities.

The President believes these actions, combined with the continuation of the embargo, are important steps in reaching the widely shared goal of a Cuba that respects the basic rights of all its citizens.  These steps build upon the President’s April 2009 actions to help reunite divided Cuban families; to facilitate greater telecommunications with the Cuban people; and to increase humanitarian flows to Cuba.

The directed changes described below will be enacted through modifications to existing Cuban Assets Control and Customs and Border Protection regulations and policies and will take effect upon publication of modified regulations in the Federal Register within 2 weeks.

Purposeful Travel

To enhance contact with the Cuban people and support civil society through purposeful travel, including religious, cultural, and educational travel, the President has directed that regulations and policies governing purposeful travel be modified to:

Allow religious organizations to sponsor religious travel to Cuba under a general license.

Facilitate educational exchanges by:  allowing accredited institutions of higher education to sponsor travel to Cuba for course work for academic credit under a general license; allowing students to participate through academic institutions other than their own; and facilitating instructor support to include support from adjunct and part-time staff.

Restore specific licensing of educational exchanges not involving academic study pursuant to a degree program under the auspices of an organization that sponsors and organizes people-to-people programs.

Modify requirements for licensing academic exchanges to require that the proposed course of study be accepted for academic credit toward their undergraduate or graduate degree (rather than regulating the length of the academic exchange in Cuba).

Allow specifically licensed academic institutions to sponsor or cosponsor academic seminars, conferences, and workshops related to Cuba and allow faculty, staff, and students to attend.

Allow specific licensing to organize or conduct non-academic clinics and workshops in Cuba for the Cuban people.

Allow specific licensing for a greater scope of journalistic activities.


To help expand the economic independence of the Cuban people and to support a more vibrant Cuban civil society, the President has directed the regulations governing non-family remittances be modified to:

Restore a general license category for any U.S. person to send remittances (up to $500 per quarter) to non-family members in Cuba to support private economic activity, among other purposes, subject to the limitation that they cannot be provided to senior Cuban government officials or senior members of the Cuban Communist Party.

Create a general license for remittances to religious institutions in Cuba in support of religious activities.

No change will be made to the general license for family remittances.

U.S. Airports

To better serve those who seek to visit family in Cuba and engage in other licensed purposeful travel, the President has directed that regulations governing the eligibility of U.S. airports to serve as points of embarkation and return for licensed flights to Cuba be modified to:

Allow all U.S. international airports to apply to provide services to licensed charters, provided such airports have adequate customs and immigration capabilities and a licensed travel service provider has expressed an interest in providing service to and from Cuba from that airport.

The modifications will not change the designation of airports in Cuba that are eligible to send or receive licensed charter flights to and from the United States.

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  1. Follow up post #1 added on January 15, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    More information coming out about this new policy…

    From the Washington Post:

    Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been quietly pressing for the rules to be issued. In a recent letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton obtained by The Post, Kerry wrote “the United States has a choice and an opportunity to be relevant” at a moment when Cuba has allowed more economic freedom.


    Tracey Eaton has several great posts at his Along the Malecon blog with quotes like this from Senator Menendez:

    “I am deeply disappointed by President Obama’s decision today to extend an economic life line to the Castro regime. This gift to the Castro brothers will provide the regime with the additional resources it needs to sustain its failing economy, while ordinary Cubans continue to struggle under the weight of more than fifty years of economic and political oppression.”


    Of course Americans’ freedoms are not important to Senator Menendez and how exactly is sending $500 per quarter to Cuban friends extending a life line to the Castro regime? So, we should continue to make the Cuban people suffer so one day they will rise up against Castro? Right.

    but as quoted in the Associated Press, not all pro-Embargo supporters are against this:

    Pepe Hernandez, head of the moderate Cuban-American National Foundation, called the changes very positive, most importantly the decision to allow all Americans to send money to Cubans.

    “It’s going to help the interaction between regular Cubans and U.S. citizens, it’s going to help Cuban people inside the island to gain independence from the Cuban government

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  2. Follow up post #2 added on January 20, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Senator Kerry, our Senator from Massachusetts, and Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations issued this statement that he is in favor of this new Cuba policy and that he intends to “continue pushing legislation” that will allow free travel to Cuba.

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  3. Follow up post #3 added on February 12, 2011 by Dave

    I have sailed to Cuba, in the Merchant marine during WW2, when it certainly was corrupt, and now, I can’t understand how this present administration threatens the U.S. in any shape or form. Why do we do business with every communist nation in the world, except Cuba? Is it because of the Cubans that escaped with there booty to the U.S., when Castro occupied Havana? Do they run our foreign policy after all these years? WHAT??????? WHY must my freedom to travel anywhere in the world be inhibited by these poor, bitter people?!!!!!!!

  4. Follow up post #4 added on March 09, 2011 by Wilmer Marcano

    Believed or not “most” of the people in Cuba do not want a change. I been in Cuba several times (my wife is cuban). The situation in Cuba is favorable for a lot of people, from bussinesse and polititians in Miami to the janitorial guy in a night club in the Havana.People live there of the “el invento” which mean from the invention,and they like it; while the salary there is around 250 pesos per month ($10.50)nobody do nothing for free, for example for a simple ride to the airport (10mtos ride as most)a good friend or neighborg will do “the favor” for $15 to $20, more that they make per month.People procrastinate a lot (tipically of the comunist country) just waiting for a side bussiness or for their family (living in other countries) to send money an clothes. On the other hand people in Miami live from “el invento” too.The biggest froud to medicare and medicaid happens in Miami(you can do a research for this)where clandestine clinics charge and over-charge to insurance comp.and to the medicaid for fake cars accidents; and how about of the polititians in Miami, they are just successful bussines people in that city, taking advance of the blockage to create side bussiness between the two places and fullfill their bank accounts. People in Cuba never going to rise-up against the regime for a lot of things, everything is just talk and talk.

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