US Loosens Travel Restrictions to Cuba

Students and church groups will be allowed to visit
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2011 4:09 PM CST
Travelers wait in line for check in as they prepare to travel to Cuba at Miami International Airport in Miami, Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010.   (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

(Newser) – The Obama administration is loosening the rules about travel to Cuba to make it easier for students, church groups, and cultural organizations to go there, reports the Miami Herald. The move means that more airports will be allowed to offer charter flights—up from the current three in Miami, Los Angeles, and New York. Tampa's airport hopes to be one of them, notes AP.

Another rule change allows an American to send $500 once every three months to Cuban citizens, provided the recipients aren't part of the Castro administration. As usual with such changes, the criticism was quick: "These changes will not aid in ushering in respect for human rights,'' said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami. "And they certainly will not help the Cuban people free themselves from the tyranny that engulfs them." But the head of the Cuban-American National Foundation said widening ties between ordinary citizens of both countries can only help.

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