President Barack Obama's administration soon will announce steps to increase contacts between the U.S. and Cuban peoples, a senior administration official said.
The plans come after Washington welcomed a deal last month in which Cuba agreed to free 52 of 75 dissidents sentenced in 2003 to prison terms of up to 28 years, but there was no sign of an easing of the decades-old U.S. trade embargo.
"We are reviewing ways of increasing people-to-people contact with Cuba. Additional steps will be announced soon," a senior U.S. official told AFP when asked whether Washington will ease restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that the Obama administration is seeking to expand opportunities for Americans to travel to communist Cuba, while leaving the U.S. embargo in place.
It wants to loosen restrictions on travel by academic, religious, and cultural groups that were imposed by president George W. Bush's administration and return to the "people-to-people policies" followed under president Bill Clinton, it said.
The Obama administration last year lifted travel and money transfer restrictions on Cuban-Americans with relatives in Cuba, but it has urged Havana to free political prisoners and improve political freedoms.
The administration last year also resumed talks on migration with Cuba that had been conducted every two years until Bush suspended them in 2003.
© AFP 2013