By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, Sept 4 – US President Obama announced five months ago that he would allow Cuban-Americans to travel freely to Cuba as well as send more money to family members. It took the US treasury department until today to put the order into effect.
Another side measure advanced in April by Obama as of Friday allows US telecommunications firms to offer services in Cuba if that country wishes to purchase them.
The Treasury Dept. said the goal of letting up on some restrictions is to “promote greater contact between separated family members in the United States and Cuba” and also to “increase the flow of remittances and information to the Cuban people.”
Initial talks between Cuba and the US to explore the possiblity of renewing direct postal service, suspended in 1963, are set to take place in mid-September in Havana.
Nonetheless, the Obama administration maintains the nearly 50-year economic blockade on Cuba that has greatly hurt the island’s economy. The US government also still prohibits ordinary US citizens from visiting the island under threat of heavy fines.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson visited Cuba for a week in late August and said he would encourage President Obama to lift the travel ban and work to end the embargo on the neighboring country.