Important notice : This website is solely intended to provide a record of some of the latest news about this subject, all in one page. Some are real facts and things that already happened, but many are still only announcements of intent to discuss, negotiate and plan future actions and changes. If you are a US travelers, check with official sources when planning your trip to Cuba.
The Cuban Thaw - Timeline
After more than five decades of frozen relations between the United States and Cuba, the US and Cuban governments announced in December 2014 that they are to embark on a process to restore and normalize full diplomatic relations between their countries. This historic shift is commonly known as "The Cuban Thaw".
August 22, 2016
AT&T announces deal with Cuba’s state-owned telecoms provider ETECSA to offer roaming service to its customers visiting the island.
August 18, 2016
JetBlue and American Airlines have received final approval from the Cuban government to begin commercial flights to Cuba. On August 31 JetBlue has a flight scheduled to Santa Clara from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, it will be the first regularly scheduled flight to Cuba in more than 50 years. American Airlines will follow up the next week with commercial airline service from Miami beginning Sept. 7.
June 10, 2016
The Obama administration authorized six American air carriers for scheduled direct flights to Cuba. The Department of Transportation approved applications from American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Frontier Airlines, Silver Airways, and Sun Country Airlines to begin flying to Cuba from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis/St. Paul, as early as this fall.
May 2, 2016
Carnival Adonia makes history as first U.S. cruise ship to dock in Havana in nearly 50 years, restarting commercial sea travel between the United States and Cuba.
March 25, 2016
The Rolling Stones make history by giving a free open-air concert at Havana’s Ciudad Deportiva, a 450,000-person capacity stadium. They are the first major international rock band to play in Cuba since the Cuban Revolution.
March 22, 2016
Carnival Corp.'s wins approval for Cuba sailings. They will begin voyages from Miami on May 1; these bi-weekly cruises will be operated by their new social impact-focused Fathom brand, on their Adonia vessel. It will be the first time in more than 50 years that a cruise ship has been allowed to sail from the United States to Cuba.
March 22, 2016
Google reached a deal to open a temporary demonstration project in Havana offering free internet at speeds 70 times faster than those now available in Cuba. Google's efforts are part of a wider plan to improve internet access across the island.
March 21, 2016
Western Union said it would expand in Cuba. The world's largest money-transfer company will launch remittance services to Cuba from across the world. Remittances can be sent to family members and other Cuban nationals for family expenses and personal support for private economic activity.
March 21, 2016
Booking.com will soon offer travelers the ability to book hotel rooms in Cuba, becoming the first US online travel agency to make a deal with the Cuban government.
March 20, 2016
US President Obama arrives in Havana on a historic visit, the first by a US president since 88 years. The 3–day trip is the culmination of a diplomatic opening announced by Castro and Obama in December 2014, after decades of animosity between the former Cold Wat foes.
March 19, 2016
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide becomes the first U.S. hotel group to sign a deal with Cuba since the 1959 Cuban Revolution, after receiving a special permission from the U.S. Treasury Department. Starwood will manage and market two properties in Havana: The Quinta Avenida Hotel under its Four Points Sheraton brand, and the Inglaterra Hotel under its Luxury Collection brand.
March 15, 2016
From March 16, 2016, US citizens can make "people to people" educational trips to Cuba without being part of an organized group. These individual trips must include a full schedule of educational exchange activities, including interacting with the Cuban people; and not going to a beach resort. Furthermore the limit on the use of US dollars in transactions with Cuba is lifted.
March 14, 2016
Verizon reached an agreement with ETECSA (sole telecommunication provider in Cuba) to provide direct call service between the United States and Cuba.
February 22, 2016
President Barack Obama submits to Congress a plan to close the US Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility.
February 18, 2016
President Obama announces his plan to visit Havana, Cuba, on March 21 and 22; he will become the first sitting US President to visit Cuba in 88 years.
February 16, 2016
The United States and Cuba sign an agreement to resume commercial air traffic for the first time since 50 years. The deal allows US airlines to offer up to 110 flights daily to 10 destinations in Cuba. All flights operating today are charters.
January 26, 2016
Washington takes new steps in order to chip away further at the US trade embargo against Cuba, by easing further trade and travel restrictions between the two countries. The new measures apply to the finance sector, exports, and expand the different instances in which Americans can travel to Cuba without a specific permit, including filming motion pictures and television programs, music, market research, marketing, business meetings and sporting events.
October 26, 2015
The U.N. General Assembly voted for the 23rd time to condemn the decades-long U.S. economic embargo against Cuba. 188 countries voted for this nonbinding resolution, and as in previous years, the only countries that voted against the declaration were the United States and its ally Israel. During this assembly many nations praise Cuba for sending more doctors than any other country to combat the deadly outbreak of Ebola ravaging West Africa.
October 6 and 7, 2015
The United States Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker travels to Cuba for two days of talks with Cuban Officials and entrepreneurs focusing mainly on ways to optimize trade and drive the economy, and to explain the measures taken by the Obama administration to soften the American embargo.
September 29, 2015
US President Obama meets with Cuban President Raul Castro at the UN General Assembly, they discussed steps to 'deepen bilateral cooperation'.
September 18, 2015
Barack Obama and Raul Castro, in Phone Call, Discussed ways to "Advance Bilateral Cooperation".
The United States further eased restrictions for U.S. citizens wishing to do business or travel with Cuba. The Treasury and Commerce departments removed limits on remittances from the United States to Cuba, as well as on the amount of money people can hand-carry to Cuba. Authorized US travelers will be able to open bank accounts in Cuba, form joint ventures with Cuban firms, and open offices, warehouses and retail outlets. The Treasury and Commerce departments said the regulations that take effect Monday will not only simplify procedures for tourism, but also telephone and Internet investments, and money transfers to Cuba.
August 14, 2015
Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Cuba to lead ceremonies to raise the American flag at the reopened US embassy in Havana, marking also the 1st visit by a US secretary of state since 1945.
July 28, 2015
A Republican U.S. congressman, Tom Emmer, files a bill (the Cuba Trade Act of 2015) to eliminate the decades-long U.S. embargo on Cuba.
July 23, 2015
The Senate Appropriations Committee votes 18-12 to end restrictions on Americans' travel to Cuba.
July 20, 2015
Diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba have been officially restored with the reopening of embassies in each other's capitals.
July 9, 2015
Apple Vacations (a major US tour operator) begins selling Cuba tours. The services are under the program People-To-People. Charter air is handled by Cuba Travel Services, a Cuba-licensed operator that charters flights from Miami on American Airlines and Sun Country Airlines.
July 7, 2015
Carnival gets approval form the U.S. Treasury Department to mount cruises to Cuba. The cruise line intends to begin offering cruises to Cuba as early as May 16 as part of its recently launched social impact cruising brand Fathom.
July 1, 2015
The United States and Cuba have reached an agreement to reopen embassies in each other’s capitals.
May 29, 2015
US State Department formally drops Cuba from list of state sponsors of terrorism
May 5, 2015
US allows first ferry services to Cuba in over 50 years. Four companies confirmed they had received licenses from the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control to provide ferry travel. The ferries will also be allowed to carry cargo.
US airline JetBlue has announced it will begin offering roundtrip charter flights to Cuba out of New York's Kennedy Airport each week. The flights will begin July 3.
April 20, 2015
New York Gov. Cuomo will lead first official state trade mission to Cuba on April 20. (source: @CNBCnow)
April 14, 2015
President Barack Obama has submitted the request to Congress to rescind Cuba's designation as a state sponsor of terror.
April 10-11, 2015
US President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro participate in the Summit of the Americas in Panama. This is their first time interacting face-to-face since their nations agreed to renew diplomatic relations.
April 7, 2015
The U.S. State Department is closing in on a decision to recommend removal of Cuba from its list of countries accused of sponsoring terrorism.
April 2, 2015
the San Francisco-based company Airbnb – an online platform that allows people to market rooms in their homes (B&B) to travelers in search of lodging - announced that it was beginning operations in Cuba with more than 1,000 listings available.
March 4, 2015
Direct phone lines between Cuba and the United States have been re-established. The US company IDT Domestic Telecom reached an agreement with Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) to provide international long-distance telephony. Before this agreement, calls had to pass through a third country, making them costly.
March 1, 2015
As of March 1st 2015, MasterCard annonced that they will no longer block transactions made in Cuba on U.S.-issued cards, making them the first credit card company to adjust to the U.S. Department of Treasury's plan to lift a ban on doing business in Cuba.
February 27, 2015
the second round of talks between the United States and Cuba will take place at the Department of State in Washington D.C. on February 27th. Matters related to reopening embassies in their respective countries will be the main focus on these talks.
February 15 and 16, 2015
Conan O'Brien spent the weekend in Cuba to record segments for his late-night “Conan” talk show, becoming the first American host to film in Cuba since 1959. The show will air March 4 at 11pm (EST).
February 9, 2015
The US company NETFLIX announced the launching of their video streaming service in Cuba.
January 29, 2015
A bipartisan coalition of eight US senators (4 Republicans and 4 Democrats) introduce the "Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015", a bill seeking to lift all travel restrictions for US citizens wishing to visit Cuba as toursits.
January 21 to 23, 2015
High-Level diplomats from the United States and Cuba met in Havana. Both sides agreed that these talks were productive and that further talks would be scheduled.
As of January 16th, 2015
Restrictions on travel by American citizens to Cuba have been relaxed, but won't allow yet for tourism. Travel licenses will be available for trips related to twelve categories, view the list here.
Licensed U.S. Travelers will be allowed to import up to $400 worth of goods from Cuba, of which no more than $100 can consist of tobacco products (including Cuban cigars) and alcohol combined.
U.S. regulations will no longer prohibit airlines from scheduling regular flights to Cuba. On January 16th, United Airlines announced their plan to launch regular flights to Cuba from Houston and Newark.
Export of American computer and telecommunications technology to Cuba will be allowed. US telecommunications companies will be allowed to provide telephony services and internet access in Cuba.
Remittances by Cuban-Americans to their families in Cuba are increased to $2,000 per quarter (up from $500), and they will no longer be required to obtain a special license to do so.
US banks will now be able to open correspondent accounts in Cuban banks to facilitate commercial transactions and authorized remittances.
Trade with private Cuban companies will be allowed in the building materials sector for housing construction, as well as industrial and agricultural equipment for small farms.
December 17th, 2014
U.S. President Barack Obama announced his intention to re-established full diplomatic relations with Cuba and has called for an end to the 50+ year's economic embargo. After 18 months of secrets talks, facilitated by the Canadians and with the assistance of Pope Francis, President Obama and President Raul Castro agreed on a series of confidence-building measures, such as: the opening of embassies in each other's countries, a breakthrough prisoners exchange, fewer restrictions on remittances, an easing of some commerce restrictions, including access by the US banks to the Cuban financial system.
Cuba release American prisoner Alan Gross, a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development, arrested in 2009 on espionage charges. Cuba also released an unnamed "Intelligence asset" who had been imprisoned there for 20 years.
The United States release the last remaining Cuban prisoners part of the so-called Cuban Five, a quintet of Cuban intelligence officers convicted in 2001 for espionage.