HAVANA – A US woman set out on Tuesday from Havana on a stand-up paddleboard hoping to reach Key West in a quest she said was based partly on the hope of promoting amity between her country and the Caribbean island.
Victoria Burgess – who is the first woman to ever attempt the feat – left early morning from Cuba’s Hemingway Marina.
“There’s many reasons why I’m doing it. It’s a very big challenge for me personally, physically and mentally, and I want to see how far I can push myself,” the 34-year-old woman told reporters.
Burgess, a Florida paramedic and firefighter, said that many supporters were waiting for her across the Florida Strait.
“I want to inspire many women around the world – young and old and even men as well – to just go out and push themselves as hard as they can and to reach their dreams,” she said. “And also to support the friendship between Cuba and the United States.”
The United States and Cuba embarked on a normalization in late 2014 after more than five decades of antagonism confrontations.
While US President Donald Trump has taken steps to put the brakes on the rapprochement, the two countries maintain diplomatic relations.