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Today, the White House announced that the Obama administration has lifted travel, remittance, mail and business restrictions relating to the Communist nation of Cuba. This also means that Cuban-Americans will now be able to visit relatives and loved ones in their homeland.
According to ABC News (Jake Tapper reporting), the Obama administration will also “take steps to enhance the flow of information by allowing U.S. telecommunications networks to link the U.S. and Cuba; and will allow an expansion of humanitarian items that can be sent to the island.” This is overall good news. Bush put restrictions on flow of Americans and products between Cuba in 2004 in hopes that the country’s leader, Fidel Castro (pictured above) would cave into our requests. However, this never happened. Meanwhile, living conditions in Cuba got worse.
My good friend’s mother is from Cuba. She was scared to visit family in Cuba because she was concerned that her passport would be taken away in Cuba and would not be able to return to America. I talked to her recently, and she feels better about going to Cuba. She stressed the fact that now that humanitarian items are allowed to be shipped to the Cubans, conditions there will improve. She said she may even take a trip there in the near future despite her lingering concerns.
In a related story, Chuck Todd, NBC News’ Political Director, had a little bit of a back and forth with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs because of the fact that Gibbs delivered the news instead of President Obama. Todd felt that this kind of message should’ve come from the President who was in his White House office. Watch the video clip here.