ease travel restrictions for their own citizens. Up until now, anyone wishing to leave the island nation had to go through a long and onerous process to get a permit to travel -- a process that could take months, if it was granted at all. But the government has announced they will update their travel laws starting next January 14th.
After that date, Cuban citizens will no longer need a government permit to travel outside the country. All that will be necessary is a current passport and a visa. The government is also extending the time that a citizen can remain out of the country -- from 11 months to 24 months (which of course could be extended). The government is beginning to realize that it is to its own benefit to allow its citizens to pursue opportunities in other parts of the world, pay taxes, and then return to the island.
This is just the latest move by the government to modernize their economy. A few months ago, they began to allow some free enterprise -- not the corporate kind, but the kind where an individual can run their own business.
It is now time for the United States to respond to these positive developments in Cuba. And the best way to do that is to do away with the embargo that has been in place since the 1960's. This embargo is respected by no one but ourselves, since the Latin American nations and the countries in the rest of the world (including our European allies) discontinued following the embargo years ago.
The embargo has been a total failure. It has not forced Cuba to do anything it didn't want to do, including the allowing of some small-scale free enterprise and the easing of the travel restrictions. They are doing those because it is to their own advantage -- not because of our failed embargo. Right now, the only people being hurt by the embargo are Americans who want to travel to and do business with Cuba.
Cuba is changing. It is time for the United States to recognize this and change also. It is time to end the silly embargo.