President Announces Thaw in Relations With Cuba
On December 17, 2014, President Barack Obama announced a thaw in the United States’ relations with Cuba. He noted that decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed to accomplish any U.S. goals.
The measures President Obama announced included, among other things, initiating discussions to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba, and facilitating an expansion of travel under general licenses for the 12 existing categories of travel to Cuba authorized by law, including: (1) family visits; (2) official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; (3) journalistic activity; (4) professional research and professional meetings; (5) educational activities; (6) religious activities; (7) public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; (8) support for the Cuban people; (9) humanitarian projects; (10) activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; (11) exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and (12) certain export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing regulations and guidelines.
Also announced was raising remittance levels from $500 to $2,000 per quarter for most donations to Cuban nationals, and other measures to facilitate trade and commerce.