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Private Sector to Begin Ferry Service to Cuba

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05/06/2015

The US government has approved several firms' plans for ferrying cargo between Florida and Cuba. Why haven't people been ferrying goods to Cuba until now? Because any entrepreneur seeking to do such a thing faced heavy fines and even imprisonment under US federal law. 

The acceleration of trade between Cubans and Americans represents and expansion of freedom in international trade, and also expands the boundaries of legal economic action under US federal law. 

Ironically, many supporters of the Cuban embargo fancy themselves as supporters of free markets, but their pro-embargo position means they favor fines and imprisonment for entrepreneurs who wish to engage in peaceful trade with persons and organizations in Cuba. Embargoes also necessarily support an expansive federal bureaucracy necessary for enforcement.

The nearly instantaneous appearance of cargo shipping to Cuba (via both air and water) by American firms shows the interest in that market all along. But, of course, thanks to threats of violence from federal officials, such innovation has never been allowed to flourish. with the expansion of more free trade in this case, however, the federal government has gotten a tiny bit smaller.

Ryan McMaken (@ryanmcmaken) is a senior editor at the Mises Institute. Send him your article submissions for Mises Wire and The Austrian, but read article guidelines first. Ryan has degrees in economics and political science from the University of Colorado, and was the economist for the Colorado Division of Housing from 2009 to 2014. He is the author of Commie Cowboys: The Bourgeoisie and the Nation-State in the Western Genre.

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