Americans will be able to visit Cuba with fewer restrictions and buy Cuban merchandise such as tobacco products in other countries, under a further easing of sanctions announced by the Obama administration.

Individuals can go to Cuba for “people-to-people educational travel” as long as they have a full-time schedule of authorized activities, under rules effective March 16, the Treasury and Commerce departments said in a statement on Tuesday. Americans can also purchase and consume Cuban-origin alcohol and tobacco products while abroad, similar to travel exemptions in other sanctions programs, according to the statement.

In addition, Cuban athletes, artists and others can earn salaries and stipends in excess of basic living expenses as long as no additional payments are made to the Cuban government, the U.S. said. The administration also expanded access to the U.S. financial system for Cuban nationals, among other changes.

The easing precedes President Barack Obama’s planned trip to Cuba later this month, the first by a sitting U.S. president in 88 years. The administration has relaxed other rules since Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro said in December 2014 that they would restore diplomatic ties after a more than five- decade-long freeze dating back to the Cold War.

This article was written by Scott Lanman from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Tags: cuba, politics
Photo Credit: Tourists watching a dancer in Havana, Cuba in January 2016. Daniel Retana / Flickr