“[President] Barack Obama has eased America’s long-standing embargo on Cuba, allowing many Americans to travel there for the first time and increasing the amounts that they can invest in the island. Other changes announced by the president will allow all US international airports to accept flights to and from Cuba; at present, chartered flights are restricted to Miami and a handful of other airports. The moves represent an important step to rapprochement between the US and Cuba…Obama’s move is made by presidential order and cannot be blocked by Congress. But only Congress can lift the embargo…Most Americans are in effect banned from Cuba because it is an offence to spend money on the island. Under the changes, students and academic staff, religious groups and others will be free to visit, and educational exchanges are to be promoted. Americans will be allowed to send up to $500 to support private economic and other activities, though not any involving the Cuban Communist party or its members.” [Con Embargo]

Ewen MacAskill, “Barack Obama acts to ease US embargo on Cuba,” TheGuardian.com, January 14, 2011