Tuesday, July 19

EFE--Cuba Embargo is Working

Babalu Blog has the text of an EFE report on the embargo. This is good news, and answers questions I had posted earlier. The fact is that tourism is very much a life line to Fidel Castro, but not to the people. Eye witnesses report tourist "zones" where dollars are used, and where the regular population has limited access. Anyone who travels to Cuba and claims its a paradise, is insane, blind, or plain stupid.
President Bush just cost you $95 million, barbudo. Not that people actually want to be around you. But this is what you get. Go see if Hugo Chavez will, yet again, be happy to make up the difference to you, mendicant.

The embargo is working. EFE reports:

Number of U.S.-Cuba travelers falls over 60 pct

Miami, Jul 18 (EFE).- The number of travelers from the United States to Cuba has fallen more than 60 percent in the past year, the press reported Monday, citing official figures.

The drop in travel from the United States to Cuba was a direct result of the tougher restrictions imposed on dealings with the island by President George W. Bush's administration to "promote a democratic transition on the island," the El Nuevo Herald newspaper said.

For Cuba, the drop in visitors from the United States translated into a reduction of $95 million in revenues, the newspaper said, adding that the restrictions also cost U.S.-based airlines and travel businesses money.

In the past 12 months, according to official figures, some 55,000 people traveled from the United States to Cuba, or about 35.7 percent of the number that had been visiting the island annually before the tougher travel restrictions kicked in June 30, 2004.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issues specific licenses to Cubans living in the United States, who are allowed to visit relatives in Cuba once every three years.

Since the restrictions took effect, OFAC has processed more than 30,000 applications for the travel permits, of which 20,000 were approved and the rest rejected.

The US-Cuba Trade and Economic Council estimates that some 154,000 people traveled legally to Cuba in 2003, some 85 percent of them for family reasons.

About 23,000 traveled to the island under specific licenses for business, religious functions, cultural and sports exchanges, and as members of humanitarian groups. EFE nbc/hv