cdrin / Shutterstock.com
In another progressive move to improve the relations with Havana, the Obama administration has approved the first ferry service in decades between Cuba and the United States on Tuesday.
The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control has issued the ferry licenses to at least four companies, some of which will start as early as this summer. The companies include Havana Ferry Partners of Fort Lauderdale, Baja Ferries of Miami, United Caribbean Lines Florida of Greater Orlando, and Airline Brokers Co. of Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
Robert Muse, a lawyer for Baja Ferries, said that he is optimistic the service would allow a major new channel for the movement of people and goods between the two countries. Here’s what he said:
“I think it’s a further indication of the seriousness of the Obama administration in normalizing relations with Cuba. We’re now going from the theoretical to the very specific.”
James D. Whisenand, an attorney for America Cruise Ferries, said this is an important opportunity to enhance U.S.-Cuba relations, and called the newly issued licenses “a significant green light of the new U.S.-Cuba relationship and a major proponent of the people-to-people policy endorsed by the Obama administration.”
Americans are still not allowed to travel to Cuba for general tourism under the terms of the U.S. embargo, which can be lifted only by Congress. To visit this Caribbean country, you must prove you fall within one of the 12 categories for travel to Cuba.