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Reports: Cuba reverses policy, will allow Cuban-born passengers to arrive by sea

Government officials in Cuba plan to change a longstanding policy banning people born in the island nation from returning to the country by sea after signing a contract with Carnival Cruise Lines, according to multiple reports.

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A Carnival Corp. spokesman confirmed the reports to the Miami Herald and said the company planned to release more information later Friday.

The company came under fire after announcing it would bar Cuban-born people from buying tickets for cruises to the country due to laws that prohibited Cuban nationals from departing or entering the island by sea. Carnival later reversed course and said it would delay its cruises to Cuba, slated to start May 1, if the country didn't change its policy.

The specifics of Cuba's policy change were not immediately available.

The cruises would be the first between the U.S. and Cuba in more than 50 years and are part of the thaw in relations between Washington and Havana.

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The Associated Press contributed to this story.