With approximately 100 days left in office, President Barack Obama is continuous in his efforts to thaw U.S.-Cuban relations, which have resulted in renewed diplomacy and the opening of embassies for less restricted travels to the island by American citizens. Today, an announcement was made that the five-decade ban on Cuban rum and cigars has been officially and totally lifted.
According to USA Today:
The Obama administration announced Friday a new round of executive actions designed to increase trade and travel with the communist island. And this is the one many Americans have been waiting for — no more restrictions on the island’s famed rum and cigars.
Under the new rules, which go into effect Monday, travelers can purchase unlimited quantities of Cuban rum and cigars in any country where they are sold so long as they are for personal consumption. Sorry American couch potatoes: You can’t order Cuban rum and cigars online and have them shipped to your home.
The lift is only one of a series of changes taking place. Other changes announced Friday (Oct. 14) include:
- Cuban pharmaceuticals can receive approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and be marketed, sold and distributed in the U.S. American scientists will be allowed to work on joint medical research with their Cuban counterparts.
- Cargo ships can visit U.S. ports immediately after departing Cuba. Vessels previously were barred from loading or unloading freight at a U.S. port for 180 days after docking in Cuba.
- Americans can award more grants in larger amounts to Cubans.
- U.S. businesses can work in Cuba to develop the country’s civil aviation security system. U.S. airlines recently began regularly-scheduled commercial flights to Cuba, which has raised concerns among some in Congress that Cuba’s airports are not equipped to secure U.S.-bound flights.
- Cubans can purchase U.S.-made goods online, although the Cuban government tightly restricts Internet access.