WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is planning to expand opportunities for Americans to travel to Cuba, the latest step aimed at encouraging more contact between people in both countries, while leaving intact the decades-old embargo against the island’s Communist government, according to Congressional and administration officials.
The officials, who asked not to be identified because they had not been authorized to discuss the policy before it was announced, said it was meant to loosen restrictions on academic, religious and cultural groups that were adopted under President George W. Bush, and return to the “people to people” policies followed under President Bill Clinton.
Those policies, officials said, fostered robust exchanges between the United States and Cuba, allowing groups — including universities, sports teams, museums and chambers of commerce — to share expertise as well as life experiences.
Policy analysts said the intended changes would mark a significant shift in Cuba policy. In early 2009, President Obama lifted restrictions on travel and remittances only for Americans with relatives on the island.
FIDEL CASTRO WARNS OF NUCLEAR WAR