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Cuba Travel Ban Ends On Friday

Santa Barbara travel agents are almost ready to take Cuba reservations.

New rules take effect on Friday that will make it easier for Americans to visit Cuba.

David de L’Arbre, the owner of Santa Barbara Travel Bureau, expects it to become a popular destination. He said it will be like a step back in time for visitors interested in history.

With government permission, United Airlines plans to fly to Cuba from hubs in Newark, New Jersey, and Houston, Texas.

Travel agents are already getting calls about booking direct flights. Under new rules, visitors will be able to use credit cards in the communist country.

On the way home, customs agents will allow Americans to bring back up to $400 in souvenirs, including up to $100 in alcohol or cigars.

Americans used to have to obtain a special license to go to Cuba.

The release of restrictions follows the release of more than 50 political prisoners.
In return, the U.S. released three Cuban spies.

The President barack Obama is sending assistant Secretary of State, Roberta Jacobson to Havana next week to discuss re-establishing an embassy in Cuba.

For years, travelers used a loophole to get to Cuba. They would fly to Mexico or Canada first.

Private firms also arranged charter flights for approved visits for artists, athletes, journalists, educators, humanitarian and religious leaders.

Foresters baseball manager Bill Pintard has been there several times for sports events.

He has an office filled with souvenirs from Cuba.

Now, others will be able to enjoy similar trips.

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