Havana, Oct 21. -The U.S. economic blockade deprives Cuba of 1,000 cruise ships port of calls, and 1.2 million visitors every year, according to industry authorities.
In statements published in Granma newspaper on Wednesday, Mateo Jose Lopez, general director of the Aries Transportes S.A., and Norberto Perez, the company's operations and commercial chief, harshly critized the almost 50-year-old U.S. policy.
According to the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, Cubaâ�Ös annual income from cruise ship visits could round some $125.3 million, but its terminals have only been used at 10 percent of their capacity, when European cruise ships dock.
In 2005, for instance, 102,440 cruise ship passengers arrived in Cuba, but the number dived to 11,000 in 2007.
Still, the island's geographic location and cultural and historic wealth favor developing this economic branch, listed as one more victim of the U.S. anti-Cuba siege.
The Cuban government calculates its material losses from the blockade to total more than $751.3 billion,based on the over 30 percent depreciation of the U.S. dollar against gold from 1961 to 2009. (Prensa Latina)