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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  • Display: Sort:
    Not enough for me yet (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by CoralGables on Sun Mar 08, 2009 at 09:44:16 AM EST
    I'm not Cuban and have no family in Cuba, but still should be able to travel there at anytime on a puddle jumper rather than having to go through Mexico or Canada without fear of being arrested on my return.

    Heyyyyy (none / 0) (#1)
    by Steve M on Sun Mar 08, 2009 at 08:38:42 AM EST
    Commerce!  Stimulus!

    Democrat obstructing on this (none / 0) (#3)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Sun Mar 08, 2009 at 11:02:17 AM EST
    Two of Obama's science noms are at the mercy of the Cuba change right now.  Robert Menendez put a hold on their confirmation until he can get the Administration to back of any thaw at all.  Ridiculous abuse of the hold power but faily common nonetheless.

    Hmmm (none / 0) (#4)
    by chameleon007 on Sun Mar 08, 2009 at 11:33:42 AM EST
    It looks like Obama's following through on his promises for change. It's about time I guess...

    How to write a song - songwriting lessons

    One way (none / 0) (#5)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sun Mar 08, 2009 at 02:51:03 PM EST
    to drill for oil and gas off Florida.

    Now it surely (none / 0) (#6)
    by KeysDan on Sun Mar 08, 2009 at 03:55:50 PM EST
    will not be a mistake when Ileana does not take President Obama's call.

    Obama just wants the oil (none / 0) (#7)
    by dualdiagnosis on Sun Mar 08, 2009 at 04:26:44 PM EST
    Circumventing environmental regulations to get offshore drilling started.

    Let's play Spot The Talking Point (none / 0) (#8)
    by FreakyBeaky on Sun Mar 08, 2009 at 05:35:39 PM EST
    Something about oil drilling, perhaps?