HAVANA (AP) - Cuban authorities are reporting a 79 percent jump in the number of U.S. nonimmigrant visas granted to islanders. Communist Party newspaper Granma says the U.S. Interests Section in Havana issued 16,767 such visas in the first six months of 2013. That's up from 9,369 in the same period last year.
Interests Section officials were not immediately available Friday to confirm the figures or comment. Granma's report comes a day after a new U.S. policy took effect extending five-year, multiple-entry visas to Cubans who are approved for nonimmigrant travel to the United States. Before, most Cubans received visas good for six months and a single entry.