The Cuba Libre has been liberated and the ban on Cuban cigars has gone up in smoke.
The Obama Administration, in a new round of executive actions aimed at increasing trade with the communist country, lifted the restrictions Friday on how much of Cuba’s famed rum and cigars tourists can bring home with them.
Starting Monday, tourists who had to limit themselves to $100-worth of rum and/or cigars can now stuff their suitcases with as much of either — as long as it’s for personal use.
And it’s not just Cuban booze and stogies that will be crossing the border.
“The Treasury Department has worked to break down economic barriers in areas such as travel, trade and commerce, banking, and telecommunications,” Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in a statement. “Today’s action builds on this progress by enabling more scientific collaboration, grants and scholarships, people-to-people contract, and private sector growth. These steps have the potential to accelerate constructive change and unlock greater economic opportunity for Cubans and Americans.”
It will also make it easier for Cubans to get their hands of much sought-after American consumer item — everything from blue jeans and bed sheets to toothbrushes and hair products.
“These amendments will create more opportunities for Cuban citizens to access American goods and services,” sSecretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said in a statement.
Not that the Cubans, who have a Socialist economy, have a lot of disposable income. The average wage is about $687 a month, although Cubans don’t have to pay for health care or education and pay no property or service taxes.