United States Cuba Policy & Business Blog

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fiber-optic cable to link Key West and Havana

MiamiHerald. com - October 13
Miami-based TeleCuba Communications announced Monday that it had been granted a license by the U.S. Treasury to install a fiber-optic cable between Key West and Havana.The 110-mile cable will cost about $18 million and should be operational by 2011, TeleCuba said in a release.Calls to the Department of Treasury were not immediately returned due to the Columbus Day holiday.TeleCuba said the cable to Cuba will allow for services such as high-speed Internet and cable television, which are not feasible using current satellite communications.The news comes weeks after the Obama administration dropped key provisions of the economic embargo and made it legal for U.S. companies to pursue fiber-optic, cellular roaming and satellite TV and radio deals. Cuba, however, must approve any plans.The announcement could put TeleCuba in a race against Cuban ally Venezuela.In June, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said the nation would invest $70 million in creating a fiber link with the Caribbean island.-- JIM WYSS
Comment: This is good news. But here is the rub for Telecuba. As long as Cuba is on the State Sponsor of Terror List, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act applies and judgment hungry [against Cuba] lawyers and plaintiffs will seek to block, seize, and collect any assets that belong to Cuba in any business transaction they can reach on the U.S. side. Cuba loses its sovereign immunity from lawsuits while on this list and under TRIA makes it easier to sue and collect judgments on any Cuban assets in the United States. Only President Obama can take Cuba off this list.BTW, North Korea is off this list, but Cuba is still on? The New York Philharmonic Orchestra could go with its patrons to Pyongyang, but they could not go to Havana?.TM