(Reuters) - President Barack Obama moved on Wednesday to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba, a shift the White House said was needed because the long-standing U.S. embargo against the communist-ruled island has failed to promote democracy and has hurt the Cuban people.
Here are the key changes:
* The U.S. will open an embassy in Havana.
* During the next six months, Secretary of State John Kerry will review Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.
* U.S. officials will hold high-level talks with Cuban counterparts on issues like migration, narcotics, environmental protections, human trafficking.
* U.S. officials will discuss maritime boundaries with Cuba and Mexico in the Gulf of Mexico.
* More Americans will be allowed to travel to Cuba.
* The overall travel ban can only be lifted by Congress, so tourism will not be allowed.
* Travel licenses will be available for family visits, journalists, professional research and professional meetings, educational activities, religious activities, performances and athletic competitions, humanitarian projects, and certain export activities.
* Trade will be authorized with Cuban private companies in building materials for private homes, goods for entrepreneurs, farm equipment for small farmers.
* Licensed travelers can bring back $400 in Cuban goods, including up to $100 in tobacco and alcohol for personal use.
* The overall trade ban can only be lifted by Congress.
* U.S. banks can open correspondent accounts at Cuban banks to help process authorized trade and remittances.
* Rules defining “cash in advance” will be revised to mean “cash before transfer of title” to help finance trade with Cuba.
* Travelers can use U.S. credit and debit cards.
* U.S.-owned entities in other countries will be allowed to provide services to Cuban people who are outside of Cuba.
* U.S. bank accounts of Cuban nationals who have moved outside of Cuba will be unblocked.
* Export of telecom devices and services will be authorized.
* Telecom providers will be allowed to provide commercial telecom and internet services.
* U.S. citizens can sent up to $2,000 per quarter to Cuban nationals and humanitarian projects, up from $500. Licenses will no longer be required.
Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Tom Brown