Obama Signals Readiness for Change With Cuba
President Barack Obama is getting ready to make some changes in our policy towards Cuba. Among those who will benefit:
US companies are queuing up as the president moves to ease restrictions on travel and trade, raising hopes of warmer relations and an end to the embargo.
...The White House has moved to ease some travel and trade restrictions as a cautious first step towards better ties with Havana, raising hopes of an eventual lifting of the four-decade-old economic embargo. Several Bush-era controls are expected to be relaxed in the run-up to next month's Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago to gild the president's regional debut and signal a new era of "Yankee" cooperation.
The details are in the spending bill: [More...]
The provisions are contained in a $410bn (£290bn) spending bill due to be voted on this week. The legislation would allow Americans with immediate family in Cuba to visit annually, instead of once every three years, and broaden the definition of immediate family. It would also drop a requirement that Havana pay cash in advance for US food imports.
U.S. Oil companies want in on the action:
Recognising Castro continuity, and aghast at European and Asian competitors getting a free hand, US corporate interests are impatient to do business with Cuba. Oil companies want to drill offshore, farmers to export more rice, vegetables and meat, construction firms to build infrastructure projects.
Hardline anto-Castro types and Republicans won't be happy with Obama's actions. But to reformers, it's a just a small step towards what's needed:
That Obama has moved so cautiously has frustrated many reformers. But after decades of freeze, even a slight thaw is welcome, and there is speculation that more will follow.
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