When a recent flight from Miami touched down at Havana’s Jose Marti Airport, a passenger shouted “Viva Cuba!” in a show of the enthusiasm Cuban Americans have for returning to their homeland. Since President Barack Obama lifted restrictions last year on their visits to Cuba aiming to increase people-to-people contact, they are coming in such numbers that Cuba has had to remodel the airport terminal for U.S. flights. The immediate beneficiaries are the eight U.S.-based charter services who operate the only flights allowed from the United States and who say business is booming. The only foreseeable fly in the ointment, they say, is the U.S. government’s inclusion of Cuba in countries where U.S.-bound passengers must undergo extra screening, which Cuba has protested. Cuban officials recently said about 250,000 Cuban exiles visited the island from the United States in 2009 up from an estimated 170,000 the year before, when many found a way around the old restrictions by traveling through third countries. (AP)

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