President Obama has directed the Secretaries of State, Treasury and Commerce in a recent press conference that was given in both English and Spanish to support actions to lift all restrictions on family visits and remittances to the island of Cuba by Cuban-Americans, as well as taking steps that will facilitate greater contact between separated family members in the United States and Cuba and increase the flow of information and humanitarian resources directly to the Cuban people.  According to an official White House press statement the following steps will be taken immediately:

  • Lift all restrictions on transactions related to the travel of family members to Cuba.
  • Remove restrictions on remittances to family members in Cuba.
  • Authorize U.S. telecommunications network providers to enter into agreements to establish fiber-optic cable and satellite telecommunications facilities linking the United States and Cuba.
  • License U.S. telecommunications service providers to enter into roaming service agreements with Cuba’s telecommunications service providers.
  • License U.S. satellite radio and satellite television service providers to engage in transactions necessary to provide services to customers in Cuba.
  • License persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to activate and pay U.S. and third-country service providers for telecommunications, satellite radio and satellite television services provided to individuals in Cuba.
  • Authorize the donation of certain consumer telecommunication devices without a license.
  • Add certain humanitarian items to the list of items eligible for export through licensing exceptions.

In taking these steps the U.S. hopes to bridge the gap among divided Cuban families and promote democratic values such as the free flow of information and humanitarian initiatives as outlined in his presidential campaign and since taking office.