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New US policy approach to Cuba

Published:Thursday | December 18, 2014 | 12:00 AM
A man transports a mattress on a tricycle through Old Havana, Cuba, yesterday. -AP photos

The United States will work with Cuba on matters of mutual concern and advance US national interests, such as migration, counternarcotics, environmental protection, and trafficking in persons, among other issues.

Adjusting US regulations to more effectively empower the Cuban people

The changes announced yesterday will soon be implemented via amendments to regulations of the US departments of the treasury and commerce. The new policy changes will further enhance the goal of empowering the Cuban population.

US travel and remittance policies are helping Cubans by providing alternative sources of information and opportunities for self-employment and private-property ownership, and by strengthening independent civil society.

These measures will further increase people-to-people contact; further support civil society in Cuba; and further enhance the free flow of information to, from, and among the Cuban people. Persons must comply with all provisions of the revised regulations; the terms and conditions are enforceable under US law.

Facilitating an expansion of travel under general licences for the 12 existing categories of travel to Cuba authorised by law

General licences will be made available for all authorised travellers in the following existing categories: (1) family visits; (2) official business of the US government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organisations; (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 or research or educational institutes; (11) exportation, importation, or transmission

of information or information materials; and (12) certain export transactions that may be considered for authorisation under existing regulations and guidelines.

Travellers in the 12 categories of travel to Cuba authorised by law will be able to make arrangements through any service provider that complies with the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations, which govern travel services to Cuba.

The policy changes make it easier for Americans to provide business training for private Cuban businesses and small farmers and provide other support for the growth of Cuba's nascent private sector. Additional options for promoting the growth of entrepreneurship and the private sector in Cuba will be explored.