Obama eases travel restrictions for CubaApril 14th, 2009 - 3:38 am ICT by IANS
Washington, April 14 (DPA) US President Barack Obama Monday lifted all restrictions on Cuban Americans travelling and sending money back to their home country as part of a much-anticipated reversal of US policies toward Cuba.
In an executive order, Obama will also allow humanitarian gifts to be sent to Cuba in what the White House billed as an effort to encourage a Democratic transition on the Communist island.
“President Obama believes the measure he has taken today will help make that goal a reality,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
The shift does not mark an end to the US’ decades-long trade embargo against Cuba and keeps in place travel restrictions for most non-Cuban Americans.
Obama has in the past signalled he wants to improve ties with Cuba and advocated relaxing travel restrictions during the 2008 presidential campaign.
The White House also sees an opportunity to influence Cuba since Raul Castro took over as president from his brother Fidel in February 2007.
The relaxations were announced by the White House just days before Obama’s trip to a summit of North and South American leaders in Trinidad and Tobago.
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