U.S. To Re-establish Diplomatic Relations, Aiming To Open Embassy in Cuba…….Told Ya

Posted: December 17, 2014 in Everyone Loves Cuba, Free Trade

SOURCE: http://atwonline.com/government-affairs/us-cuba-thaw-some-travel-bans-lifted-us-carriers-still-restricted

SEE ALSO:  Cuba, Iran Added To New York Times’ Travel Program

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US-Cuba thaw: Some travel bans lifted but US carriers still restricted

The US has announced it will initiate discussions with Cuba to re-establish diplomatic relations, aiming to open an embassy in Havana in the coming months.

“Decades of US isolation of Cuba have failed to accomplish our enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a democratic … Cuba,” US President Barack Obama said, adding the policy has isolated the US from regional and international partners. “Though the policy has been rooted in the best of intentions, it has had little effect–today, as in 1961, Cuba is governed by the Castros and the Communist party,” Obama said.

Numerous policy changes were put forth in Obama’s announcement Wednesday; among them was a lifting of certain travel restrictions. According to the White House press release, general licenses will be made available for all authorized travelers in “12 existing categories,” including family visits; official US and foreign  government business;  journalistic activity; professional research and meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, athletic competitions and exhibitions; humanitarian projects; and “support for the Cuban people,” among others.

The announcement stipulates “travelers in the 12 categories of travel to Cuba authorized by law will be able to make arrangements through any service provider that complies with the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations governing travel services to Cuba, and general licenses will authorize provision of such services.”

A specific relaxation of travel restrictions to Cuba currently upheld by US-based airlines was, so far, not addressed in the initial announcement.

Currently, Air Canada offers flights to Havana out of Toronto.

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