TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A senior administration official has confirmed that President Barack Obama will loosen Cuban travel policy to allow students and church groups to go to the communist country.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity Friday because an official announcement had not been made, said students seeking academic credit and churches traveling for religious purposes will be allowed to go to Cuba.
Also, any American will be allowed to send as much as $500 every three months to Cuban citizens who are not part of the Castro administration and are not members of the Communist Party.
More international airports will be allowed to offer charter service. Now, only three airports can do so.
Sen. Bill Nelson's office had earlier outlined the changes.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — President Barack Obama plans to loosen Cuban travel policy to allow students and church groups to go to the communist country, a senator's office said Friday.
The State Department briefed Sen. Bill Nelson and his foreign policy staff on the plans to lift restrictions put in place by President George W. Bush, said the senator's spokesman Dan McLaughlin. McLaughlin said the changes will be made within the next three weeks.
Under the plan, any American will be allowed to send as much as $500 every three months to Cuban citizens who are not part of the Castro administration and are not members of the Communist Party.
Also, more airports will be allowed to offer charter service. Right now, only three airports in Miami, Los Angeles and New York City can offer authorized charters to Cuba. That will be expanded to any international airport with proper customs and immigration facilities as long as a licensed travel agency asks to run charters from the airport.
Changes Obama made last year already increased Cuban-Americans' ability to visit family and send money to relatives.
The Obama administration had no immediate comment on Nelson's announcement Friday.
The changes are similar to the travel policies under President Bill Clinton.
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