For the first time in over 50 years, the United States government has taken steps to restore diplomatic relationships with Cuba. This morning, President Obama announced â€œa major loosening of travel and economic restrictions on the country. And the two nations are set to re-open embassies, with preliminary discussions on that next step in normalizing diplomatic relations beginning in the coming week.â€
Due to the changes in policy, travelers from the United States will now be allowed to bring back $400 (USD) in goods from Cuba per person, including $100 in alcohol and tobacco. Although this is not a total lifting of the embargo on Cuban goods, it is a start for the United States to have a normal relationship with Cuba.
The original embargo on Cuban goods was placed on October 19, 1960 and included most goods with the exception of food and medicine; this was extended to include nearly every Cuban good in 1962. There are six statutes under which the embargo is enforced, ranging from the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 to the Trade Sanction Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000. The embargo against Cuba is a fairly complex issue, but to put it simply: it is due to Cubaâ€™s Human Rights violations, the United States holding six billion dollars in claims against the Cuban government and their designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. The United States embargo against Cuba is the longest enduring trade embargo in history and many have criticized it since its start.
Now that the embargo is starting to lift, even if just a little bit, there is a lot of talk within the cigar community about its pros and cons. Some say that by allowing Cuban cigars to be legally brought into the United States, the quality will decrease and we will begin to see even more fakes within the States. Others are saying that this is simply an opportunity for those residing in the United States to purchase and enjoy a Cuban cigar, hassle free.
What do you think of the change in policy for Cuban cigars? Share your thoughts with us!