Yesterday. a lawsuit was filed against Carnival Corporation and Fathom Travel for discriminating against Cuban-Americans who were excluded as passengers on the the May 1st cruise to Cuba. The lawsuit alleges that these cruise lines violated the civil rights of two Cuban-Americans by denying them reservations on the Adonia because they were born in Cuba.
The lawsuit seeks class action certification. It was filed by the law firms of Koyzan, Tropin and Throckmorton and Robert Rodriguez P.A.
Yesterday, the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale published an article by its editorial board stating that until Cuba changes its policy of prohibiting native-born Cuban Americans from arriving by sea, "all American cruise lines, ferry operators and shipping companies should collectively call a time-out on plans to sail to Cuba." The newspaper states:
"It is not OK for an American business to abide by policies that discriminate against Americans. It is not OK for an American business to check the birthplace on citizens' passports before letting them aboard. It is not OK for an American business to create two classifications of Americans, no matter the rhetoric of presidential candidates who would discriminate against Muslim-Americans ."
Yesterday, the Cuban American Bar Association sent a letter to Carnival chairman Micky Arison protesting Carnival's enforcement of Cuba's discriminatory policies against Cuban-Americans.
Fathom Travel was last in the news earlier this week when the U.S.Coast Guard shut down the Adonia, scheduled to cruise to the Dominican Republic, for safety violations. Travel Weekly reported that the ship had numerous fire doors which were inoperable. Inoperable fire doors on an inaugural cruise should be a major embarassement for a cruise line with a history of fires at sea.
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April 13, 2016 Update:
An embarassing day for Carnival's so-called "social impact" cruise line.
Newsweek asks WHY ARE CARNIVAL CRUISES DOING CASTRO’S DIRTY WORK?
Miami-Dade mayor says Carnival Cuba cruise policy violates county human-rights law.
John Kerry: "American citizens, Cuban Americans have a right to travel, and we should not be in a situation where the Cuban government is forcing its discrimination policy on us . . . Carnival needs to not discriminate."
The Miami New Times article A Cuban Millennial's Take: Obama, Not Carnival Cruise Line, Is the Problem in Cuba has a slightly different view, saying that Carnival is is "merely a pawn in a much larger political game."
April 16 2015 Update: The Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board (CRB) and the Hispanic Affairs Advisory Board (HAAB) are urging Carnival Cruise Lines to reverse its decision to not allow Cuban-born County residents as passengers on Fathom Travel's cruise to Cuba.
April 18 2016: Former Miami U.S. attorney had asked Justice Department to investigate Carnival cruise to Cuba ("Shamelessly, Carnival tries to absolve itself from its illegal conduct by pointing its finger at the Cuban Government and blaming it for its discriminatory laws. But, it is Carnival that is playing the role of the Cuban Government police, doing its dirty work by enforcing the Cuban Government's discriminatory laws. Carnival is willing to play that role for business reasons.")
Carnival finnaly comes to its sense. Carnival cruise lines says it will allow Cuban-born passengers to book travel to Cuba, but will delay trips if the island's government does not change its policy allowing nationals to return by sea.
Photo credit: MrDerails English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0.