10/17/13 - Bradenton Herald (Florida) - At Port Manatee meeting, ferry official touts service from Florida to Cuba
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PORT MANATEE -- An officer of a company that wants to operate ferry service
between Florida and Cuba Thursday outlined his plans for the Manatee County
Leonard D. Moecklin, vice president of Havana Ferry Partners LLC, said that
once legal obstacle posed by a U.S. embargo against Cuba are resolved, his
company could operate fast ferries to the island nation.
Each one could carry 150 passengers, plus tons of cargo, he said.
"It's time to go to Cuba," he told the board.
The U.S. Treasury Department last year rejected Moeklin's attempt to offer
ferry service during the visit to the island of Pope Benedict XVI.
Business opportunities would cross many economic sectors, including
transportation, construction, tourism, real estate, automotive, food and
clothing, and medical supplies, he said.
Port Manatee could be a hub for construction materials to be shipped to
Cuba, where the whole infrastructure of the communist country needs
rebuilding, Moecklin said.
As for the political change needed to accomplish such an enterprise,
Moecklin said it's difficult when the two countries' governments are not
speaking to each other.
The U.S. has maintained an embargo against Cuba for decades.
But he said change is coming, and Port Manatee could be in the forefront if
it prepares now.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her
on Twitter @sarawrites.
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