Obama Plans to Ease Cuban Travel Rules

Will remove Bush's restrictions on cultural, academic trips
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2010 8:31 AM CDT
A traveler shows his Cuban Passport during check-in at the ABC Charter flight to Cuba at Miami International Airport on April 7, 2009 in Miami, Florida.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – President Obama intends to peel back restrictions on travel to Cuba enacted under George W. Bush, allowing academic, religious, and cultural groups to more freely venture to and from the communist island. Obama already lifted the restrictions for Americans with relatives on the island in 2009, but is now returning in full to the broader “people to people” policy that existed under Bill Clinton, the New York Times reports.

But don’t grab your passport yet. The administration is unlikely to make the politically risky change until after the midterm elections, according to some Congressional aides, and it may change in the meantime. Others, however, expect the administration to announce the move during Congress’ mid-September recess, to avoid a backlash from outspoken Cuban American lobbyists, and legislators friendly to them, who oppose any détente with the Castro clan.

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