The Clinton administration temporarily eased restrictions on travel to Cuba on Friday, announcing that it would allow the Archdiocese of Miami to sail a cruise ship there with more than 1,000 American Catholics during Pope John Paul II’s visit in January.
The decision to grant the archdiocese a special license, despite U.S. restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba, followed months of planning by the administration to make it easier for Americans to arrange pilgrimages for the pope’s visit, scheduled for five days beginning Jan. 21.
The approval is expected to be the first of several granted to Roman Catholic groups around the country for the visit.
In a statement, however, the State Department said it would consider more applications to travel to Cuba case by case. The Miami archdiocese’s application is the only one formally submitted.