“Today, the United States is taking historic steps to chart a new course in our relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people,” - Statement from the White House.
Here is a round up of important things to know!
- Since 1960 there has been an economic embargo on Cuba, blocking most travel and nearly all trade to the country.
- The embargo is NOT fully lifted, but the US will allow export of goods to be used by Cuba’s private sector.
- Americans will now be allowed to import Cuban cigars and rum, but no more than $100 worth ($400 for other non tobacco/alcohol goods).
- The State Department is launching talks to restore diplomatic ties and open an embassy in Havana.
- 12 different travel restrictions will be eased including the allowance of family visits, official visits, journalistic and education work, and humanitarian work. Tourism will remain prohibited.
- American travelers in Cuba will be able to use credit and debit cards.
- The US will also review Cuba’s status as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, a designation that’s been in place since 1982 due to its cold war era support of communist rebels in Africa and Latin America.
- Alan Gross, an American held in Cuba for five years on espionage allegations has been released as a humanitarian gesture.
- US releases 3 Cuban spies held for 15 years.
- Cuba has agreed to release 53 political prisoners.
- Cuba will no longer be excluded from the Summit of the Americas, a gathering of the heads of state and government of the Western Hemisphere.
What are your thoughts on this historic announcement? Let us know in the comments!
GDP: $68.23 Billion
Population: 11.26 million
- 25% to raw sugar
- 15% refined petroleum
- 14% nickel mattes
- 14% rolled tobacco
- 7% hard liquor
Top Export locations:
- China (30%)
- Spain (11%)
- Brazil (5.1%)
- Belgium-Luxembourg (5%)
- Italy (3.2%)
For details: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/foreign-policy/cuba