On December 17, 2014, President Obama announced historic changes to United States policy toward Cuba, beginning the process of normalization between our countries, and announcing a commitment to ease a number of restrictions on individuals and businesses subject to U.S. jurisdiction with respect to Cuba. The new policy changes announced by President Obama further enhance the United States’ goal of increasing people-to people contact, supporting civil society in Cuba, and empowering the Cuban population through the free flow of information to, from and among the Cuban people.
On January 16, 2015, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Commerce published amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR) that implemented these changes and became effective immediately. The CACR and EAR are administered by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), respectively.
The implementing changes will allow for continued and enhanced support for the Cuban people. They will enable U.S. citizens to provide more resources and information to empower the Cuban people to become less dependent upon the State. Among other things, these changes:
[Note: Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction must comply with all of the provisions of the revised regulations; violations of the terms and conditions could result in penalties under U.S. law.]
Since taking office in 2009, President Obama has taken steps to support the ability of the Cuban people to gain greater control over their own lives and determine their country’s future. The additional measures announced on December 17 are intended to more effectively promote change in Cuba that is consistent with U.S. support for the Cuban people and U.S. national security interests. The regulatory changes that took effect on January 15 are part of that effort and will further enhance the United States’ goal of empowering the Cuban population. The United States firmly believes that allowing increased travel, commerce, and the flow of information to, from, and within Cuba will allow the United States to better advance its interests and improve the lives of ordinary Cubans.
A critical focus of the United States’ new course on Cuba will include continued strong support for improved human rights conditions and democratic reforms in Cuba. The United States remains committed to its enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a more prosperous Cuba that respects the universal human rights of all its citizens. The Cuban people deserve the support of the United States and of the entire region to promote and defend democracy under the Inter-American Democratic Charter.