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Diplomacy on the water

Thursday, February 04, 2016 - 01:28

Dozens of sailboats from the United States and Cuba compete side by side during a leg of the Conch Republic Cup regatta. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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Call it diplomacy on the water. American flags fly in the waters off Havana as part of the "Castillo del Morro" regatta. It's all part of the Conch Republic Cup offering American sailors like Mark Stetler the rare chance to visit Cuba. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SAILOR FROM SOUTH CAROLINA, MARK STETLER, SAYING: "It's a historic event, and was my opportunity to visit beautiful Cuba and to come here legally. As an American, I don't have that opportunity. Me and many of my friends, we took advantage of the opportunity that was given to us and we are so happy to be here." Some 56 sailboats, carrying more than 100 Americans, traveled to the island as part of the event sponsored by the Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba.' For sailor Ray Dunn it's a final chance to meet neighbors that seemed so far away. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SAILOR FROM TAMPA BAY, FLORIDA, RAY DUNN, SAYING: "We love meeting new people and getting to know what the people of a new country are like, that we've never been able to see. We've been kind of shut out from one another for many, many decades. So, that's the main reason; the intrigue of knowing what people were like from a civilization or culture, people that we've never been able to know." The U.S. and Cuba agreed in December 2014 to end five decades of animosity and have since restored diplomatic ties -- as well as ties across the water.

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Diplomacy on the water

Thursday, February 04, 2016 - 01:28