My latest article, The Lugar Report on Changing Cuba Policy is up at Real Clear World Blog, which is now named The Compass. Please read it and leave a comment.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats controlling Congress are loosening restrictions on allowing people of Cuban descent to visit their relatives on the island.
A huge bill wrapping up last year’s budget would block enforcement of restrictions imposed by President Bush in 2004 on family travel to Cuba. The Bush rules limit family visits to once every three years for no more than 14 days. Travel spending is now capped at $50 per day.
Once signed by Obama, the legislation would allow Cuban-Americans to travel to Cuba once a year to visit relatives, spend up to $170 a day and visit for an unlimited duration.
The legislation would also expand the definition of family to include first cousins, aunts and uncles rather than parents, siblings and grandparents. That would allow many more people to travel to the island under the looser rules that apply to Cuban-Americans and legal immigrants.
The bill would also remove impediments imposed by Bush in 2005 that made it more difficult to finance sales of food and medicine to Cuba.
The bill is slated to pass the House this week and the Senate soon thereafter.