Some four months after President Barack Obama vowed to engage Cuba, U.S. Department of Treasury on Thursday issued amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, paving ways for easing restrictions on travel and money transfers to Cuba.
The move was aimed at promoting "greater contact between separated family members in the United States and Cuba," and increasing "the flow of remittances and information to the Cuban people," said the Department of Treasury in a statement.
The amendments to the asset control regulations change the rules in three areas, namely family visit, family remittances and telecommunications.
Under the amendments, travelers may visit "close relatives" who are nationals of Cuba without limitation on visits' duration and frequency; persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States may send remittances to "close relatives" who are nationals of Cuba without limitation on remittance's amount and frequency.
On April 13, President Obama announced to ease restrictions on travel and money transfer by Cuban-Americans to Cuba, saying "supporting the Cuban people's desire to freely determine their future and that of their country is in the national interest of the United States."
The president directed the departments of State, Treasury, and Commerce to take the needed steps to lift all restrictions on transactions related to the travel of family members to Cuba and to remove restrictions on remittances to family members in Cuba.