Cuba opens 'megaport' with high hopes for more trade
MARIEL, Cuba (AFP) - Cuba officially opened its new Mariel "megaport" on Monday, hoping the project will put it on the map as a regional shipping hub despite scant foreign investment and the US economic embargo.
Leading the ceremony were Cuban President Raul Castro and his Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff, whose country provided technical and financial help for the port's construction in the joint project.
Only the first 700 meters (2,300 feet) of what is slated to be a 2,400-meter wharf were inaugurated, with hopes the project - when completed - will welcome one million containers per year.
"From this moment, Mariel is part of the Cuban and Latin American port system," Mr Castro said. "It's the first phase of the project, we must continue working."