Rejoice, stogie-lovers and rum-chuggers, Barack Obama is here to save the day. As we prepare to say goodbye to our 44th commander-in-chief—praying to God that his replacement isn't a former reality TV star—Obama is still pushing along, passing legislation and helping out those who enjoy the finer things in life.
According to USA Today, Obama has finally lifted the ban on Cuban cigars and rum, allowing American travelers to bring back an unlimited quantity of the goods for the first time in decades. Though US citizens won't be able to order the products from home—and the newly relaxed restrictions are for personal use only—the news marks a major step forward in rebuilding relations between Havana and Washington.
The new rules, which go into affect on Monday, are the latest in a series of open talks and negotiations between Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro since 2014. The new cigar and rum regulations come after Obama partially lifted the ban in 2015, allowing up to $100 worth of the goods to be brought back in carry-on luggage.
On Friday, the Obama administration also called on Congress to lift the 50-year-old trade embargo that has existed between the US and Cuba since the Cold War. As USA Today notes, the idea is to make ties between the country's so strong that the progress Obama has made will become virtually "irreversible" by the time he leaves office.
"Challenges remain—and very real differences between our governments persist on issues of democracy and human rights—\but I believe that engagement is the best way to address those differences and make progress on behalf of our interests and values," the president said in a statement. "The progress of the last two years, bolstered by today's action, should remind the world of what's possible when we look to the future together."
Besides the influx of Cuban booze and tobacco we're about to experience, Obama has also paved the way for Cuban drugs to be verified by the F.D.A., allow Cuban cargo ships to travel directly from Cuba to US ports, and started to opened American e-commerce to Cuban citizens.
Thanks a lot, Obama. No, seriously. Thank you.
[via USA Today]