President Barack Obama “directed his government on Friday to loosen more U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba, a further step in his efforts to reach out to the people of the communist-ruled country,” Reuters reports.
The latest measures, which stop short of lifting a ban on tourist travel to the island by Americans, are aimed at developing "people-to-people" contacts through more academic, cultural and religious exchanges.
"These measures will increase people-to-people contact; support civil society in Cuba; enhance the free flow of information to, from, and among the Cuban people; and help promote their independence from Cuban authorities," the White House said in a statement.
In a press release from his office, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement in response:
“I strongly oppose any new changes that weaken U.S. policy towards Cuba. I was opposed to the changes that have already been made by this administration and I oppose these new changes. I believe that what does need to change are the Cuban regime’s repressive policies towards the independent press and labor unions, its imprisonment of political prisoners and constant harassment of citizens with dissenting views, and its refusal to allow free multi-party elections. It is unthinkable that the administration would enable the enrichment of a Cuban regime that routinely violates the basic human rights and dignity of its people.”
Senator Rubio’s parents were born in Cuba.