cuba-2.thumbnail.jpgToday Congress passed the $410 billion appropriation bil which includes provisions easing some travel and trade restrictions against Cuba.  Cuban-Americans will be allowed to visit their families in Cuba more frequently and the provisions will make it easier to sell agricultural and medical goods to Cuba.

The budget bill, which already passed the House, creates a general travel license for Americans who want to travel to Cuba to make agricultural and medical sales deals with the communist government. It also allows Cuba pay for goods on arrival — instead of before the products leave U.S. ports. The bill, which Obama still must sign into law allows Cuban-Americans to visit the island annually instead of once every three years as the Bush government mandated. They could also stay longer than the current two weeks and would allow Cuban-Americans to spend up to 179 dollars per day while in Cuba.

Originally Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey had worried business visas would be exploited for general travel, but both he and Senator Bill Nelson of Florida who also opposed the provisions at first were reassured by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner promises of tight oversight.

Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.

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