As the holy day of anointing quickly approaches, and the chosen one prepares to stand before the nation and the entire world to be sworn in as not just the new president of America, but as the healer of the planet, there are some that are licking their chops in anticipation. When they hear all the talk about “hope,” and “change,” and “yes we can,” it is like the ringing of a bell for one of Pavlov’s dogs; the mere sound makes them salivate and drool all over themselves although there is nothing there.
With all the talk going around about the “hope” for “change” Obama will bring to this country’s policy towards the murderous Cuban dictatorship, it is like an external stimulus that causes some people to drool in anticipation of a large meal.
Cruise lines interested in Cuba’s potential
With an anticipated lessening of travel restrictions to Cuba by the Obama administration, U.S. cruise lines are playing it cool. They’re not going public with their plans, but authorities agree that reopening Cuba to American tourists could give the recession-impacted travel industry a welcome boost.
A survey of cruise lines, for the most part, produced carefully parsed answers about their Cuba plans when government-imposed travel and trade restrictions are lifted. However, a couple cruise lines went on the record about their interest.
In fact, Frank Del Rio, the 54-year-old CPA who founded Oceania Cruise Line, can’t wait for the cruise lanes to open. He was born in Cuba, and fled the Communist island with his parents when he was 6 years old.
Del Rio, a University of Florida graduate who resides in Miami, is also chairman and CEO of Prestige Holdings Inc., parent company of Oceania and Regent Seven Seas cruise lines. As such, he’s responsible for financial and strategic development of both cruise lines.
“Ten minutes after Castro dies,” he said, “negotiations to open up Cuba will begin. This is a real country with a distinct culture and history. There’s a lot in Cuba that the other islands don’t have. For one thing, it’s by far the biggest island in the Caribbean, and there are a lot of ports that would make very good stops as well as launching pads for other Caribbean destinations.
“It’s forbidden fruit, and that gives it very strong appeal. My dream is that the next Oceania ship will be christened in Havana harbor.”
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There is so much potential to make money by dealing with the dictatorship that there is no time to think about the inconvenient details such as the tens of thousands of Cubans who have been murdered; the thousands of Cuban political prisoners that are rotting in jail; the thousands of Cubans who have given their life fighting to free Cuba; and the millions of Cubans that must live in an oppressive society devoid of the most basic of human rights.
These people do not hear any of those details, they only hear a bell ringing, and it’s making their mouths water.