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realclearworld

The Love Boat

While Cubans on the island are scrounging for any materials they can find, steal, purchase, or barter for in order to fashion some type of boat to carry them away from slavery, there are Cuban exiles opportunists here in Miami trying to do the same. But the boats these opportunists are trying to acquire are 600-cabin luxury ferries that can transport tourists and their cargo.

As detailed in this New York Times article, Armando Ruiz is trying to get a license from the Obama State Department that will allow him to start a ferry service between Miami and Havana. Listening to Mr. Ruiz tell the story, it seems he is trying to create the Cuban version of the Love Boat.

He [Ruiz] said he got the idea for a ferry about 15 years ago on a trip to Cuba. He was buying cigars in a poor section of Havana from a man who said no one in his building could afford a television.

“I thought, we have so many televisions that get thrown out,” said Mr. Ruiz, in an interview at his luxury apartment building overlooking the Atlantic. “If I had a ship, I could bring so many and donate them.”

Cargo seemed to excite him the most. Mr. Ruiz’s eyes brightened behind his Dolce & Gabbana eyeglasses when he said that someone who could take only 44 pounds of luggage on a plane without paying extra would be able to carry four times as much onto the boat. It would all be part of the ferry ticket price, he said, which would probably run about $100 less than plane fare.

The schedule would include at least three overnight round trips a week.

Think of the possibilities, he said: bicycles and toys for Christmas; food, medicines and construction materials after hurricanes. He said his company, Florida Ferry International, had interested investors, including Cuban-Americans, and management companies ready to staff the ship. He said the business would cost somewhere from $300,000 to $1 million dollars a month to operate, depending on the boat leased and the partners involved.

Unfortunately, this ferry cannot bring the Cuban people the one thing they need the most: Freedom. But hey, at least the slaves get some bikes and TVs and the investors make a few million bucks.

You see? Everyone wins!

10 comments to The Love Boat

  • Rayarena

    Of course, leave it up to the New York Times to give this story full coverage while continuing to ignore the real important news that comes out of Cuba such as the continuing repression against dissidents, etc.. also, leave it up to the NYT's to spin this into yet another anti-embargo editorial.

  • raylove54

    Hey you are right everybody wins, the Jineteras make out, the economy gets some badly needed dollars,the businessmen make a few millions, Everybody profits, as long as we don't get too ambitious and try to free the slaves, everything goes.

  • theCardinal

    and what if the slaves do want TVs and bikes? why should you deny them? who made you lord of Cuba, don't they have enough people telling them what to do? And investors making bucks? Isn't our argument that no one makes money on Cuba cuz they stiff everyone? If someone is dumb enough to do business with Cuba and get screwed they deserve it - let them go broke. Better for us that lefty or amoral businessmen lose their shirts trading with Castro Inc.

  • Cardinal:

    You are right, it is the intransigent Cuban exiles here in Miami who are the ones denying Cubans TVs and bikes and building supplies and all those other luxuries. The regime has nothing to do with it. It is the Cuban exiles, not the Castro regime, who are "lords of Cuba," and all they have to do is say the word and everyone in Cuba can live much better lives.

    I suggest reading what you write before you hit the "submit" button.

  • theCardinal

    I read it and noted the sarcasm, which I appreciate more than anyone, but who really cares about a stinking ferry. I'm not one of those that says the embargo was a failure - I just don't think it really matters anymore. We spend so much time arguing about something that makes zero difference at the end of the day. I know this - lifting the embargo will not make Cuba free. In the short term it will in all probability make things worse. I also know that keeping the embargo won't change a damned thing either - and we look like a bunch of petty ingrates for supporting it. So take a piece of it off in some BS negotiation and be done with this argument so we can focus on what really matters - not some stupid ferry that only the NY Times (surprise!) cares about.

  • Cardinal:

    I agree with you that the so-called "embargo" is ineffective, but that's because there really isn't an embargo. Nothing is really kept out of Cuba thanks to loopholes or the lack of enforcement.

    But the point of my post was not to discuss the merits of keeping the embargo in its current form but to point out the opportunists out there that have no issues making a buck off the blood of innocent Cubans. Cuba has to be under the stranglehold of a dictatorship in order for people like Ruiz to make money off this ferry scheme. They need the Cuban people to live destitute and miserable lives so they can charge their relatives here in the states by the pound when they pack hundreds of pounds of supplies to send their family members on the island. Without a dictatorship, these bottom feeders have no service to provide. They need the dictatorship to keep their market alive and they are well aware of it.

    That was my point.

  • Mr. Mojito

    Wanting to donate items to the needy people of Cuba is a noble sentiment.

    Boarding the boat and heading back to America without 50 Cubans stashed in the hull of the boat however is WRONG.

  • Making money off the misery of someone else is WRONG. Plain and simple.

  • theCardinal

    Wrong or not for someone eager to make a buck it is called filling a market niche.

  • I guess selling underage sex slaves is filling a market niche, too.