Importing Cuban Cigars And Rum Legal Again Under New U.S. Rules

Dec 19, 2014

Credit freedigitalphotos.net/salvatore vuono

Among those cheering President Obama’s plans to ease up on sanctions against Cuba are fans of the island’s legendary cigars and rum.

The president announced on Wednesday that the United States will be re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba.  That includes relaxing certain trade and travel restrictions.

Mimi Whitefield covers the Latin American economy for the Miami Herald.  She says the new rules mean an authorized American traveler would be allowed to bring back $400 worth of merchandise from Cuba.

"That includes $100 of alcohol and tobacco products," says Whitefield. "So that means that you can light up a Cohiba, have a bottle of Havana Club rum, but commercial sales of these products are not allowed in the United States. This would just be for your personal use.”

That’s because the U.S. embargo on Cuban goods is still intact, making the import and sale of Cuban goods in the United States illegal.

Most Americans are still prohibited from traveling to Cuba solely for tourism purposes.  But close relatives of Cubans, journalists, educators and humanitarian workers are among the people who can travel to Cuba with few restrictions.