13 April 2009
President Obama lifted all restrictions Monday on the ability of individuals to visit relatives in Cuba, as well as to send them remittances.
The move represents a significant shift in a U.S. policy that had remained largely unchanged for nearly half a century. It comes days before Obama leaves for a key meeting of hemispheric powers, the Summit of the Americas, in Trinidad and Tobago.
"President Obama has directed that a series of steps be taken to reach out to the Cuban people to support their desire to enjoy basic human rights and to freely determine their country's future," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.
Obama also ordered new steps to promote the "freer flow of information among the Cuban people and between those in Cuba and the rest of the world, as well as to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian items directly to the Cuban people," Gibbs added.