Cuba travel and gift rules are officially changed

The federal rules regulating what gifts and how much cash can be sent to Cuba finally became official Thursday, five months after President Barack Obama announced a loosening of restrictions amid great fanfare.

"It's about time!" said Maria Brieva, owner of Machi Community Services, which sends packages to Cuba. "It's hurricane season, and people were beginning to get anxious."

In April, Obama lifted caps on Cuban-American travel to the island and on the money that can be sent to relatives as part of a broader campaign to warm long-chilled relations between the two nations. The Cuban government welcomed the changes when they were announced, but did not respond with any notable changes on the island.

The written regulations that make Obama's changes official had not been published in the federal register until now.

That left people who were eager to send money and gifts in limbo, because agencies such as Western Union and shipping companies hadn't received any legal notice of the change.

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