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Reverse Boat People

The first flotilla of boat people left Florida this week, bound for Cuba. Actually, it was just one boat containing 700 people — the first cruise ship in more than 50 years from the US to visit Cuba.

There was one hiccup. Ironically, Carnival Cruise Line was initially prohibited from selling tickets to any Americans born in Cuba because of a Cuban law that prohibits Cuban-born people from arriving to the country by sea. Eventually, that snafu was worked out by the Cuban government, and there are 16 people aboard who were born in Cuba. Half of those are employees of the ship.

Technically, tourism is still prohibited by the US embargo of Cuba, but “people-to-people educational travel” is allowed, so the cruise is billed as a “cultural exchange”. Hopefully, the US will eventually get rid of the embargo, which rather than getting rid of the communist government in Cuba helped keep it in power for so long by driving it into the arms of the Soviet Union.