HAVANA - A cargo ship carrying humanitarian aid from the United States to Cuba in the first expedition of its kind in 50 years arrived Friday, a day late due to customs paperwork problems.
The Ana Cecilia arrived at the entrance to Havana Bay shortly after 7:00 am (1100 GMT) before heading to dock and was due to unload at the container port, after the administrative holdup was resolved. "The problem was one of bureaucracy," Leonardo Sanchez-Adega, a spokesman for International Port Corp., the company responsible for the shipment, told AFP from Miami. "We failed to fill out the forms properly," he added. International Port Corp. said earlier that it obtained a special permit from US authorities that complies with Washington's half-century-old trade embargo on the Communist-run island, allowing the ship to sail from Miami. The company's clients for what will be a weekly shipment include charitable, religious and humanitarian groups, as well as relatives of people living in Cuba, according to the firm.
The Ana Cecilia can hold 16 containers of supplies.
More than 800,000 Cuban-Americans live in Florida, most in the Miami area.
The US embargo against Cuba was declared by president John F. Kennedy in 1962 and was aimed at bringing down the Americas' only one-party Communist regime. That regime remains in place under President Raul Castro.
The US embargo has been condemned by a majority of the United Nations General Assembly each year since 1992.