A historic event has taken place on July 14. No, it's not the celebration of Bastille Day, although that event is hugely significant. No, today the United States sent its first shipment to Cuba in 50 years, effectively dealing a blow to political and ideological differences that have plagued the two nations since 1962.
Al Jazeera reports that Miami shipping company International Port Corp. sent the Ana Cecilia, which sailed into Havana Bay around 6am Eastern Daylight Time, or 11am GMT. The ship carried humanitarian aid such as household goods, food, medicine, clothing and even medical equipment to the impoverished country. I.P.C. wants to make the 16-hour trip a weekly excursion.
The U.S. government issued a special permit to the company to send aid, taking a step, perhaps, in rebuilding a tentative relationship with the tiny island nation. It is a wise move, considering the large Cuban population in Florida (and Miami in particular). The company's clients are mainly charitable organizations and religious groups that focus on humanitarian endeavors, so this is a big deal for the president to sign off on this.
Since Barack Obama has been president, restrictions against Cuba have eased, allowing Cuban Americans to send unlimited money to relatives in the isolated nation. Travel has also been allowed on a limited basis. This is another smart move, considering the fact that 80 percent of the world's Cuban population lives in the U.S.
Perhaps these small steps will lead the way to a completely open dialogue with Cuban leaders, as sending one shipment to Cuba could be seen as a symbolic, yet cautious, truce.
Â©2012 Reno Berkeley for Gather News.