Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cuba - so close, yet so far away

Havana Bay Tunnel

A curious piece on the Web site Changing the Times describes a tunnel linking Key West to the town of Hershey, Cuba.
It's just a fantasy, of course. The author of the piece is listed as Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer who died in 1512. And the old town of Hershey isn't called that anymore. It's Camilo Cienfuegos.
But wouldn't it be great if it were easier to travel to Cuba?
Armando Ruiz, 72, has been dreaming of a better way to get to the island for the past decade. His idea: A ferry service from Miami to Havana.
A ferry linked the two cities for years before it was shut down in 1962. Ruiz wants to launch such a service again and has started a company called Florida Ferry International, according to a Sept. 12 story in the New York Times.
The U.S. ban on trade with Cuba and other laws stand in the way right now, but Ruiz is optimistic his plan could eventually succeed.
He told the New York Times that he could charter a $23 million, 600-cabin cruise-ferry from a dealer in Lithuania. He also needs investors to pay expenses to operate the ferry - some 300,000 to $1 million per month, he figures. But he believes the service would make money once U.S.-Cuba relations are normalized.
I like the idea of a ferry and I'm sure it will eventually happen. But it's impossible to say when.
Foes of the plan said they believe Cuba needs to improve its human rights record before any kind of deal is reached.

Inside the Havana tunnel

P.S. A final offbeat detail - A Key West blogger spotted a man with a Key West-Havana Tunnel Authority logo on his truck. Pretty strange...

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