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Old 12-19-2014, 09:03 AM   #61
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Ferry? If Cuba hadn't taken such a sad historical wrong turn in history, we'd have nice bridge or tunnel to there already.

With a little luck there will be one in a decade or two.
An interesting question for the forum engineers. Is a bridge or tunnel financial feasible if the traffic is mostly passenger? The length would probably be a bit over 100 miles and the route subject to lots of hurricanes.
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Old 12-19-2014, 09:05 AM   #62
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The length would probably be a bit over 100 miles and the route subject to lots of hurricanes.
And thousands of ships...
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Old 12-19-2014, 09:46 AM   #63
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If you think about it, Cuba has the potential to be a solid manufacturing base, as well as tourism.

I am sure labor is cheap, and they have plenty of land to expand factories. Importing things is a lot shorter and easier than bringing it in from China. I am sure as bad as Cuba might have been for the original embargo, or still is, China is no better.

So, as much as there is a demand for tourism, this could be a major boon for US Companies too. And it will promote competition with other out-sourced labor to provide cheaper goods to everyone that gets goods from there. Even the fruits and vegetables should be easier to import.

I would suspect that the price of Cuban cigars would drop almost immediately, so do not count your stash of Cuban cigars as an asset you can sell as you get older...
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Old 12-19-2014, 10:54 AM   #64
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An interesting question for the forum engineers. Is a bridge or tunnel financial feasible if the traffic is mostly passenger? The length would probably be a bit over 100 miles and the route subject to lots of hurricanes.
The problem I see with a tunnel is you have to drive from Miami all the way to Key West to get in it. That's a pretty limited road to add the Cuba traffic to. You need a 100 mile tunnel and over 100 miles of serious road improvements. I think your original ferry idea is the best approach. Ultimately, the question is how much traffic is there? You'd need a massive amount to justify a tunnel. I'm sure the residents of Key West would come out in droves to widen all the roads so people can go by at 70 mph through their small island homes.
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Old 12-19-2014, 10:58 AM   #65
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If you think about it, Cuba has the potential to be a solid manufacturing base, as well as tourism.

I am sure labor is cheap, and they have plenty of land to expand factories. Importing things is a lot shorter and easier than bringing it in from China. I am sure as bad as Cuba might have been for the original embargo, or still is, China is no better.

So, as much as there is a demand for tourism, this could be a major boon for US Companies too. And it will promote competition with other out-sourced labor to provide cheaper goods to everyone that gets goods from there. Even the fruits and vegetables should be easier to import.

I would suspect that the price of Cuban cigars would drop almost immediately, so do not count your stash of Cuban cigars as an asset you can sell as you get older...
The biggest problem I see with China is they effectively steal any technology transferred to them. Knock offs are almost immediately available and patents/copy rights are effectively ignored. I personally wouldn't move anything to China unless it was open source technology. I also hate buying industrial materials from China because they cut corners and short specs without hesitation. Without true "rule of law" Cuba will be no better.

Fruits and vegetables are a possibility. Unfortunately, they are barely feeding themselves.
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Old 12-19-2014, 11:02 AM   #66
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There are only 12 million people there. Just too small to justify a tunnel or even a causeway. As far as being good site for mfg or anything else-- it will need to show some competitive advantage over the glut of other low cost places to do that in the same neighborhood. People are reluctant to invest where private property isn't protected.
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Old 01-22-2015, 04:55 PM   #67
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My interest in Cuba is as a vacation destination.
It must have more sea coast than any other Caribbean island - some of that should be appealing.
They've got mountains right next to a deep ocean trench.
But, I can't see them getting the infrastructure up for ordinary US travelers in my traveling lifetime.
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Old 01-23-2015, 03:22 PM   #68
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It's doubtful a tunnel would work financially even if it was possible to build it technically (and make it safe enough if it were to fill with smoke or a truck caught on fire, for example).

Let's say a billion per mile. That's $100 billion for the tunnel. Assume a 6% cost of capital to finance it. You would need $6 billion per year of revenue just to service the interest on the debt. Say $10 billion total to cover a little debt repayment, operations and maintenance and renewal and rehabilitation over the years.

If you charged every vehicle that used it $200 per one way trip (roughly the cost of a ferry?), you would need 137,000 vehicles per day every day (even Sundays and holidays) to cover the $10 billion annual cost. For reference, 137,000 vehicles per day is what you would see on a busy 8 lane freeway.

I'm not even sure you could build an 8 lane tunnel for "only" $1 bn per mile when you factor in all the ventilation, safety, and redundancy required for a 100 mile length. And there isn't 137,000 vehicles per day that would want to make that trip. Maybe a few percent of that number. It's a long drive from Miami (the nearest population center of any significance).

I would think a ferry from Key West or near there or from Miami would be a more reasonable alternative for those wanting to travel with a car and not wanting to ship the car. Miami already has a good port and maritime workforce, so adding a ferry terminal (if it was financially reasonable) wouldn't be a huge stretch. I doubt it would make money though, given how cheap it would be to fly from MIA to Havana or elsewhere in Cuba.
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Old 01-27-2015, 12:56 AM   #69
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Maybe Cuba would be a good place to ER?
That thought was what I was thinking so many years ago as I stood in the all included resort as it was so cheap, I figured I could afford the monthly rate all year (was about 12K-15K).

Course later I found out they shut down over part of the year as it was not good for tourism. Too hot in summer without AC
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Old 07-19-2015, 07:11 PM   #70
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The US embassy re-opens on Monday . I wonder who got evicted from the building to make this happen.
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Old 07-19-2015, 07:33 PM   #71
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The US embassy re-opens on Monday . I wonder who got evicted from the building to make this happen.
It was the US interests section of the Swiss Embassy since the breaking of diplomatic relations, and as I understand it was the US embassy before this.
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Old 07-19-2015, 09:35 PM   #72
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I was in Cuba about 18 months ago and on a tour of Havana the guide pointed out the "US Embassy". It appeared to be one of the few "functional" buildings. I guessed that another country "managed" it for the US.
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Old 07-19-2015, 10:02 PM   #73
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Too hot in summer without AC
And A/C won't work when the power is out, which happens a lot apparently.
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Old 07-19-2015, 10:03 PM   #74
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almost as bad as unreliable power would be unreliable Internet.
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Old 07-19-2015, 11:32 PM   #75
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almost as bad as unreliable power would be unreliable Internet.
I read somewhere on the Internet , that Cuba only has AOL dialup service
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Old 07-20-2015, 04:44 AM   #76
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The US embassy was occupied by the "US Interests Section of the Embassy of Switzerland", staffed by Swiss diplomats until 1977, the nby Americans after that, because the US would not have an embassy in Cuba. It provided consular services, etc , but it wasn't called an embassy. On July 19, the sign was changed and it was the US Embassy again.

I don't know who provides internet service in Cuba, but we were told that it was so slow - loading a few pages would take an hour - that it was better to plan to do without for a week. Cubans have found work around - they are very ingenious. Some people run businesses downloading movies and music for people. You drop off your storage medium and your download wish list, then pick it up a day or two later.
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Old 07-20-2015, 06:13 AM   #77
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Current tourism is more than just Canadians. Lots of Canadians go to the resorts because they are insanely cheap and our winters can be insanely. I have heard complaints about the food except at the top resorts. My first trip was to a five-star hotel in Havana for a week with breakfast included. Knock one star off because it's Cuba, but it was pretty nice, and the breakfast buffet was very good. We had lunches and dinners in restaurants that catered mostly to tourists, but served very good food. Not gourmet, but not boring either. It probably would get dull after a couple of weeks because of a lack of variety, or we would go further afield to find different cuisine. We also ate in a couple of paladares - small, legal, family-run restaurants that provided very good meals. On our second trip, we stayed in casas particulares in Havana, Cienfuegos and Trinidad. Comfortable, state-sanctioned accommodation in private homes for $25-35 a night. We met a lot of Europeans travelling that way.

I still don't get the whole embargo thing. After all, the US trades with other communist countries and non-communist dictatorships.

I do understand the complaint that Cuban-Americans have about losing their homes and businesses. Parts of Canada were settled in the 1780s by refugees fleeing the persecution that followed a revolution - the United Empire Loyalists. People who picked the wrong side in that fight were hounded from public office, had their homes burned, and their farms and businesses confiscated. Revolutions are hard on the losing side. Anyone want to guess which revolution that was?
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Old 07-20-2015, 10:17 AM   #78
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Niece Kristen has a blog that covers some of her real life experiences, living and working in Cuba... a number of different subjects over the past several years, that give a US/Canadian viewpoint that highlights the way of life for the average Cuban citizen... a sharp contrast to what we are used to.

She's pretty open and funny, and occasionally a little explicit in her descriptions, but overall, for those who might ever plan to visit... some insights into a simpler life and some pitfalls to avoid in dealing with the government and the bureaucracy.... like waiting in line for four hours to renew a drivers license or the challenges of public transportation.

Things that we take for granted... water, electricity, internet, and phone service are not always there where you'd expect them to be, and the availability of many items that we naturally expect to buy in any store, may be unknown to much of the population.

All of that said, I took away the feeling of the America that I remember.. perhaps in the 1950's. Some of the blogs are very long, but skipping through to some of the earlier ones might be rewarding.

https://wowcuba.wordpress.com/
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Old 07-20-2015, 10:32 AM   #79
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I wonder if in a few years Cuba will be filled up with expensive resorts like the small islands nearby.

Then it might be indistinguishable from those or resorts in Mexico, where you have these little oases of first-world amenities surrounded by third world poverty.
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Old 07-20-2015, 03:03 PM   #80
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Some pitfalls to avoid in dealing with the government and the bureaucracy.... like waiting in line for four hours to renew a drivers license or the challenges of public transportation.
Sounds like life in Raleigh, North Carolina...

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Things that we take for granted... water, electricity, internet, and phone service are not always there where you'd expect them to be, and the availability of many items that we naturally expect to buy in any store, may be unknown to much of the population.
We're wrapping up week six in Mexico right now. Staying in Oaxaca in an upscale Mexican neighborhood. Our water stopped running one day and after calling the landlord over, he said the 10,000 gallon cistern had run dry. City water was probably shut off for weeks or months and no one noticed till our underground cistern went dry. The wealthy pay to have water trucks haul water to refill their cisterns. I guess the poor go thirsty and bathless?

We've also had a bout of internet failure. The landlord says "that's just how it is here. Sometimes it just doesn't work that well and no one knows why." I pressured him to call the cable company. The result was that "they know about the issue in the neighborhood and they "fixed" it". The earliest a tech could come out was 8 days later. Just slightly worse service than time warner cable back home. (Internet is back up now obviously ).

Makes you appreciate the generally functional utilities in the good ole US of A.
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