5:40pm

Fri January 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Obama Will Ease Cuba Travel Restrictions

The AP and the Miami Herald are reporting that President Obama will move to allow student and religious groups to travel to Cuba.

The Herald reports:

A senior Obama official told The Miami Herald the much-expected move to expand cultural, religious and educational travel to Cuba is part of the administration's continuing "effort to support the Cuban people's desire to freely determine their own future."

President Barack Obama is also restoring the amount of money ($2,000) that can be sent to nonfamily members to the level they were at during part of the Clinton and Bush administrations. There will be a quarterly limit on the amount that any American can send: $500 per quarter to "support private economic activity."

The move allows students seeking academic credit and churches traveling for religious reasons to travel to the island.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla) was not happy. She told the AP:

"Loosening these regulations will not help foster a pro-democracy environment in Cuba. These changes will not aid in ushering in respect for human rights. And they certainly will not help the Cuban people free themselves from the tyranny that engulfs them," said Ros-Lehtinen, the House Foreign Affairs Committee chair. "These changes undermine U.S. foreign policy and security objectives and will bring economic benefits to the Cuban regime."

This decision follows another earlier in Obama's term in which he loosened restrictions on Cuban-Americans visiting the island and sending money to family. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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