The Clinton administration named New York and Los Angeles on Tuesday as "gateway cities" for direct charter flights to Cuba under a program of increased contact between the American and Cuban people. Until now, only Miami has been eligible for such flights.
The State Department said the move did not reflect any easing of U.S. sanctions against Cuba, noting that the longstanding ban on tourism to Cuba remains in effect.
Consistent with current rules governing charter flights from Miami, Americans eligible for flights from New York's Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport will be limited to journalists, scholars, representatives of human rights groups and others with a professional interest in Cuba. Rules also permit once-a-year humanitarian visits by U.S.-based relatives of Cubans on the island. Americans may spend up to $195 per day in Cuba.