On Friday, President Barack Obama announced the lifting of a 50-year commercial ban on Cuban cigars and rum. Americans can now freely purchase this two Cuban products abroad with any limitation and by paying their taxes.
For the past 50 years, Americans were only able to purchase 100$ worth of Cuban rum and cigars, due to the cold war issues between the two countries. However, the Obama administration announced the lifting of the ban as a part of the President’s “irreversible” policy initiative involving the communist country.
Since 2014, Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro have been working on settling peace and establishing new relationships between the two countries as a way of ending the almost decade-long situation.
“Challenges remain- and very real differences between out governments persist on issues of democracy and human rights- but I believe that engagement is the best way to address those differences and make progress on behalf of our interests and values,” said President Obama regarding the lift.
The newly-approved measures by the Commerce and Treasury Departments of the United States, also allow U.S companies to start doing economic exchanges with Cuban-pharmaceutical companies that seek to import medicines to the country. It also allows a growth for U.S agricultural companies to begin negotiations with Cuban companies.
The decision made by the Obama administration on Friday allows U.S citizens to purchase ‘unlimited quantities’ of Cuban rum and cigars in any duty-free or country they are traveling without limitations, as long as they take them in their carry on.
Cubans will also be allowed to now purchase products made within the United States online and pharmaceutical companies in the country can now begin to be examined by the U.S Food and Drug Administration to sell their products.
Maritim transport between the two countries will also be eased after the Friday decision; now Cuban cargo ships can go directly to the U.S after leaving Cuba, something that wasn’t allowed in the past decade and Cuban shops had to spend at least 180 days away from their country before entering the States.
American companies will be allowed to help the social community on the island and invert on Cuban commerce, as well ass help the Cuba aviation security system, to improve commercial flights between the countries.
“Already we see what the United States and Cuba can accomplish when we put aside the past and work to build a brighter future. You can now celebrate with Cuban rum and Cuban cigars,” said Susan Rice, White House National Security Adviser in a speech on Friday.