Cuba Fears Invasion of US Yachtsmen

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

April 4, 2015

Havana Bay (Image: Public Broadcasting Service)

Havana Bay (Image: Public Broadcasting Service)

 The rapprochement between the United States and Cuba could mean that tens of thousands of U.S. yachts could soon descend on the island, an influx for which the country's infrastructure is not prepared, Agence France-Presse reported.

 
Cuban authorities believe that once U.S. President Barack Obama decides to hand down an executive order that will authorize private boats to sail to the Cuban Island, an influx of private American yachts and pleasure cruises would start arriving in the communist island.
 
The U.S. embargo against the Communist nation, along with a 2004 executive order signed by then-President George W. Bush, currently prevent pleasure cruises from sailing from the United States to Cuba. 
 
But if those restrictions were lifted, a mass arrival of American yachts is almost certain to follow.
 
Havana's Ernest Hemingway International Nautical Club commodore Jose Miguel Diaz Escrich said Wednesday that the executive order issued by former president Bush "is the only impediment today" that hinders what could be tens of thousands of private American yachts from arriving in the island.
 
Cuba is not yet ready for such an onslaught of pleasure cruisers, warned Escrich, the commodore of the Ernest Hemingway International Nautical Club in Havana.
 
"There are no marinas prepared, there are no shipyards or nautical supply stores," Díaz said. 
 
"The first year the executive order restricting boat trips is lifted, tens of thousands of vessels could come," he added.
 
Since the US and Cuba announced a historic rapprochement last December after more than five decades of enmity rooted in the Cold War, the White House has eased travel restrictions on 12 categories of visits, including trips for journalism, education, the arts and sports -- but not tourism.
 
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