Published on Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Obama lifts restrictions in Cuba

Cubans applauded the passage of a bill today by U.S. Congress that would ease some travel and trade restrictions against the communist island. They hope for more changes under President Barack Obama.

The bill, which appropriates $410 billion to fund the U.S. government, includes provisions allowing Cuban-Americans to visit their families in Cuba more frequently and makes it easier to sell agricultural and medical goods to Cuba.

It undoes some Bush administration rules that toughened the 47-year-old U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, a Cold War policy which Havana blames for the perennial economic woes afflicting the island just 90 miles (145 km) from Florida.

In Miami, there were mixed reactions from the Cuban exile community, which is split between those who favor greater contact and opening between Washington and Havana and some anti-communist hard-liners who oppose any easing of U.S. sanctions on Cuba under the rule of Fidel and Raul Castro.

The bill, which Obama still must sign into law, would allow Cuban-Americans to visit the island annually instead of once every three years as the Bush government mandated. They could also stay longer than the current two weeks.

"People-to-people contact is the number one factor of change in a closed society like the one in Cuba. It's also the right of a Cuban to be able to return to his country," Ramon Saul Sanchez, head of the Democracy Movement, said in Miami.

He urged President Obama to use his authority to completely lift restrictions on travel. "He can do it with the stroke of a pen," he said. 

Source: Reuters

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  • arrogance of these idiots !!!

    This EU mob are an arrogant lot. Plenty of websites are completely & utterly outside of their control or influence.

    By casino slot, Friday, March 13, 2009

  • Ramon Sanchez better watch his back

    Having lived in Miami for most of my life, I am concerned for the well-being of someone who is willing to speak his mind about things which the hard-liners oppose. Yes, I am talking about Miami and the United States, not Cuba. Far too many Cubans who live in Miami do not truly understand the meaning of Free Speech. It only applies to THEIR ability to speak ill of the US or of Cuba's Communist government. Anyone who says anything positive about Cuba or their government is subject to violent attacks. Even after all these years of living in a free country, they resort back to their heritage of totalitarianism. Let's hope things have changed enough to where Ramon Sanchez can speak freely in the press and on the streets of a city in the US without having to fear for his safety.

    By Art Berkowitz, Friday, March 13, 2009

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