The Caribbean island nation of Cuba is many different things to many different people. However, to a very large percentage of Americans, the name is almost synonymous with quality, if not entirely legal, consumables: cigars and rum. No wonder, then, that news of increased access to celebratory smokes and libations from Cuba is being met with good cheer.
The Obama administration today made a further update to its Cuba policy, USA Today reports, and this one lets travelers buy, let’s say, a few more souvenirs.
As long as they are for personal use (not for resale), Americans traveling to cuba may now buy an unlimited quantity of Cuban rum and cigars from any country in which they are sold — not just Cuba. You can’t order either online, or find them at U.S. retailers, but if you or a friend should happen to make it to the Caribbean (or even the duty-free shop at some airports), the only limit on how much you can buy is (a) how much you can afford, and (b) how much you can cram into your luggage.
The restriction on bringing Cuban rum or cigars into the U.S. first loosened up in late 2014, when the current thaw in the previously-frozen diplomatic relationship between the two nations first kicked off. At that point, travelers going to Cuba were allowed to bring up to $400 worth of purchased goods back into the U.S. with them, up to $100 of which could be alcohol and/or tobacco.
While the renewed access to Cuba has not been without hiccups, it has been booming. Just this week, an online travel agency bragged about being the first in the nation to let travelers comparison-shop Cuba-bound flights.
The administration is continuing to press for easing the restrictions even further, USA Today reports. The policy directive the President issued to Congress today includes, among other things, a call for Congress to rescind the economic embargo on the island entirely.
by Kate Cox via Consumerist