More than half a century of tense relations with Cuba took a major turn yesterday, when the White House announced we would be charting a new course with the island. What are the major ramifications? Um, rum and cigars of course! (And yes, diplomacy, economics and a bunch of other stuff that is neither rum nor cigars.)
According to the Wall Street Journal, the new policy means “Americans traveling to Cuba will be allowed to bring back…up to $400 worth of Cuban goods, of which only $100 can be alcohol and tobacco.” (The “only” is the WSJ’s addition, but I wholeheartedly agree with their insinuated disappointment.) Another bonus: American credit cards will now work in Cuba as well, meaning those purchases will be even easier.
There is some bad news: Recreational travel is still restricted, so you’ll have to find a roundabout way to get into the country. There are 12 legal reasons to go though that range, from visiting family to the rather vague “helping the Cuban people.” You can also get in by traveling from Canada or Mexico, so there are plenty of ways in. If you do go and come back with some of those delicious vices, make sure to keep them to yourself. While it might be legal to bring back and consume some of Cuba’s great exports, selling them is still very much illegal. It will take an act of Congress to change that, and they don’t seem excited to take up the issue any time soon. Maybe if we get them enough Havana Club we can change their minds.