Bush orders searches of Cuba bound boats

Campaign News | Friday, 27 February 2004

New measures harden blockade

Feb 27. US President George W. Bush once again tightened the blockade of Cuba by taking new measures to restrict maritime travel from the United States to the Caribbean Island, "La Opinion" newspaper reported on February 27.

Experts say that this electoral move by Bush is aimed at pleasing Florida-based anti-Cuba sectors and violates US citizens' right to travel.

The president signed a decree authorizing Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to take the necessary measures to monitor ships traveling to and from Cuba and increase inspections of boats in US jurisdictional waters.

He also asked local and state authorities to collaborate with the federal government to prevent "non-authorized departures of Cuba-bound ships". The measures include confiscation of the vessels.

According to the new regulations, owners of US boats who want to sail out for Cuba will have to get a permit from the departments of State, Treasury and Commerce.

The move will undoubtedly reduce the number of leisure craft that visit Cuba from the US. The island is very popular with US yachters and cruisers.

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