Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Obama administration approves first ferry service to Cuba

The Obama administration approved the first ferry service in decades
between the United States and Cuba on Tuesday, potentially opening a new
path for the hundreds of thousands of people and hundreds of millions of
dollars in goods that travel between Florida and Havana each year.

Baja Ferries, which operates passenger service in Mexico, said it
received a license from the U.S. Treasury Department. Robert Muse, a
lawyer for Baja Ferries, said he believed other ferry service petitions
had also been approved. The Treasury Department said it could not
immediately confirm that, but the Sun-Sentinel newspaper in Florida said
approvals also were received by Havana Ferry Partners of Fort
Lauderdale, United Caribbean Lines Florida in the Orlando area and
Airline Brokers Co. of Miami.

Muse said Baja had yet to request approval from Cuba, but added that he
was optimistic the service would allow a significant increase in trade
and travel between the two countries.

The Cuban government made no immediate comment on the news and it is far
from clear that it is willing or able to allow a major new channel for
the movement of goods and people between the two countries.

“I think it’s a further indication of the seriousness of the Obama
administration in normalizing relations with Cuba,” said Muse, an expert
on U.S. law on Cuba. “We’re now going from the theoretical to the very

Before Cuba’s 1959 revolution, ferries ran daily between Florida and
Cuba, bringing American tourists to Havana’s hotels and casinos and
allowing Cubans to take overnight shopping trips to the United States.

That ended with the revolution, and the more than 600,000 people who
travel between the U.S. and Cuba each year depend on expensive charter
flights. About 80 percent of U.S .travelers to Cuba are Cuban-Americans
visiting relatives, and a large number travel with huge amounts of
consumer goods unavailable in communist Cuba, from baby clothes to
flat-screen TV sets. That cargo has become increasingly expensive and
difficult to bring in recent years due to the high prices charged by
charters and tightened Cuban customs rules.

Muse said he believed ferries would allow lower-priced passenger and
cargo service and provide a potential conduit for new forms of trade
allowed by Obama when he announced a series of loopholes in the trade
embargo on Cuba late last year. Among other measures, Obama allowed the
import of some goods produced by Cuba’s new private sector and allowed
the virtually unlimited export of products to entrepreneurs.

Ferries also provide a new route for U.S. travelers to Cuba, who also
depend on the charter services. Travel from the U.S. has been rising
since Obama’s Dec. 17 announcement, and new pressure groups are pushing
for Congress to end all travel restrictions and allow pure tourism,
currently prohibited by law.


Andrea Rodriguez contributed to this report.

Source: Obama administration approves first ferry service to Cuba |
Miami Herald Miami Herald –

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