As President Obama said in his State of the Union address, we have sought ways to increase opportunity for Americans and improve the lives of the Cuban people, including by opening the door to increased travel and commerce between our two countries. Among other changes, today the Departments of the Treasury and Commerce announced significant regulatory changes to make it easier for Americans to travel to Cuba, expand access to U.S. financial institutions and the U.S. dollar from Cuba, and expand the ability for Cubans living in the U.S. to earn a salary. These changes, coupled with the arrangement recently announced by the Departments of State and Transportation allowing up to 110 non-stop flights daily between the United States and Cuba, will significantly increase the ability of U.S. Citizens to travel to Cuba to directly engage with the Cuban people.
The goal of the President’s policy with Cuba is simple: to improve the lives of Cubans and to advance the interests of the United States. The President fundamentally believes that the best way to achieve that goal is by facilitating more interaction between the Cuban and American people, including through travel and commercial opportunities, and through more access to information.
Engagement and purposeful changes like those announced today will continue to empower the Cuban people and advance our enduring objectives of supporting human rights, improving the lives of the Cuban people, and promoting closer ties between our peoples. We have great confidence that this engagement will lead to a better future for both the American and Cuban people.