By Daphne Psaledakis and Dave Sherwood
WASHINGTON/HAVANA (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday moved to lift some Trump-era restrictions on money transfers and travel to Cuba even as it fended off criticism for blocking off the island. Communist-run and longtime enemies attend this week’s regional summit.
The revised regulations, published in the US Federal Register on Thursday, will provide more details on the broader easing of US restrictions on Cuba by the administration of the General. President Joe Biden first announced it in May.
The announcement of the new regulations is in line with the US-hosted Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, a Treasury official said.
The conference was originally conceived as a forum to demonstrate US leadership and support for Latin America. But that agenda has been undermined in part by a boycott by some regional leaders upset by Washington’s decision to exclude Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
Washington said it was concerned about human rights and the lack of democracy in those three countries.
This week’s Cuba-related changes allow US citizens to once again visit Cuba on group educational trips organized by US-based companies or travel organizations and attend events professional meetings and conferences in Cuba.
The regulations also lift the quarterly $1,000 limit on family transfers for Cuban citizens with close relatives and allow US citizens to send money to non-family members on the island.
The Biden administration last week lifted restrictions on flights to Cuba imposed by former US President Donald Trump, including ending a ban on flights by US airlines to other Cuban airports. outside Havana.
The United States has also promised to increase the number of immigrant visas it grants to Cuban nationals in an effort to combat the growing migrant crisis at its border.
Cuba’s government has welcomed the changes but said it could not lift a Cold War-era embargo imposed by the United States on the country, which it blamed on the island’s economic crisis.