President Obama Lifts Restrictions on Cuban Rum and Cigars
Havana Club Rum without restrictions.
Photo by Richard Karshna
Over the past two years, President Barack Obama has made history by softening restrictions on trade and travel with Cuba. This is especially important for Miamians with Cuban roots — allowing them to travel more freely to visit family and friends or simply to discover their history firsthand.
Today the Obama administration went one step further in the United States' relationship with Cuba by lifting restrictions on the purchase of Cuban cigars and rum.
U.S. travelers to the island nation can now return with an unlimited amount of booze and cigars, according to the Treasury Department.
Importation of Cuban-origin merchandise as accompanied baggage for personal use. OFAC is removing the monetary value limitations on what authorized travelers may import from Cuba into the United States as accompanied baggage. This includes the value limitation on alcohol and tobacco products. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction will be further authorized to import Cuban-origin merchandise acquired in third countries into the United States as accompanied baggage, again without value limitations. OFAC is also removing the prohibition on foreign travelers importing Cuban-origin alcohol and tobacco products into the United States as accompanied baggage. In all cases, the Cuban origin goods must be imported for personal use, and normal limits on duty and tax exemptions will apply.
That means all Cuban goods — including tobacco products and alcohol — can be brought back in unlimited amounts. Previously, U.S. travelers could bring back no more than $100 worth of items.
In a statement, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said, “These amendments will create more opportunities for Cuban citizens to access American goods and services, further strengthening the ties between our two countries.”
Even though flights from Miami International Airport to Havana are now a common sight, restrictions on travel to Cuba still exist. U.S. citizens must obtain a visa and can travel only for educational, journalistic, or humanitarian purposes or to visit family. Tour operators set up trips with various cultural themes, such as food or music, to circumvent the restrictions. Looks like an educational rum-tasting journey might be the new trend this fall.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Miami dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.