US allows first ferry services to Cuba in over 50 years

AFP, May 6

The United States authorized commercial ferry services to Cuba for the first time in more than a half-century on Tuesday, another major step in improving relations between the two countries.

In what was hailed by ferry operators as “a historical event,” the US Treasury lifted a decades-old ban and at least one Florida company confirmed it had been licensed to launch boat services to the island.

That adds to the charter air services that had been permitted up until now, focused on enabling Cuban-Americans to visit their families.

The ferries will also be allowed to carry cargo to the communist island, which sits just 150 kilometers (90 miles) off the southern tip of Florida.

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  • US experts size up Cuba’s untapped oil wealth

    AFP, May 7

    Havana – US experts were briefed by Cuban authorities for the first time on technical details of a possible partnership to tap Cuba’s deep-sea oil wealth, in another sign of warming ties between the two nations.

    The United States and Cuba in December made a surprise announcement that they would end five decades of Cold War-era bad blood, and move toward normal relations.

    But Pedro Sorzano, the head of state oil monopoly Cubapetroleo (Cupet) acknowledged that “so far, we have not found any (US) companies interested.”

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