Surprise! Reestablishment of US Trade, Travel, and Diplomatic Ties with Cuba

Today President Obama announced a change in US policy intended to reopen diplomatic, economic, and cultural ties between the nations. The United States will establish an embassy in Havana, and issue licenses for travel to Cuba for persons in 12 very broad categories. This includes travel for purposes of professional meetings, business training, and/or to explore exporting to Cuba. The telecommunications industry in particular has been named an intended U.S. beneficiary.

In addition, licensed U.S. travelers to Cuba will be authorized to import $400 worth of goods from Cuba, of which no more than $100 can consist of tobacco products and alcohol combined. Cuban cigars and rum will be permitted.

The licensed travel categories are:

  1. Family visits
  2. Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
  3. Journalistic activity
  4. Professional research and professional meetings
  5. Educational activities
  6. Religious activities
  7. Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
  8. Support for the Cuban people
  9. Humanitarian projects
  10. Activities of private foundations, research, or educational institutions
  11. Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials
  12. Certain export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing regulations and guidelines

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