Cuban exile activists to take action against American Airlines for
MARIO J. PENTÓN
The president of the Democracy Movement, Ramón Saúl Sánchez, said
Tuesday in Miami that his organization would 'take action' against
American Airlines' "apartheid policies" toward its Cuban-American
employees if said policies are not changed within 24 hours.
"The Democracy Movement rejects AA's apartheid by virtue of nationality
to Cuban workers that the regime does not allow in Cuba as it allows
Americans and people from other nationalities with American
citizenship," Sanchez said.
The exile leader stressed that his organization has nothing against the
flights to the island. "This is not a campaign against the flights to
Cuba, which we support and we believe that are useful for family
reunification," he said, arguing, however, that the Cuban law prevents
Cuban Americans from entering the island with a U.S. passport.
"We believe AA is a prestigious company that should not discriminate
only because the government of Cuba does," Sanchez said.
AA began scheduled commercial flights to the island with trips to
Cienfuegos and Holguin on Sept. 7. The problem arose when a flight to
Varadero with a crew that included some Cuban Americans on board had to
stay overnight in Cuba. The Cuban authorities denied permission to the
Cuban Americans to do so, arguing that they had no Cuban passport, the
Miami Herald reported.
The company's response was to withdraw with pay the Cuban American
employees from that flight.
Cuban law does not recognize dual nationality, requiring that Cubans who
live abroad who want to travel to the island must first obtain a Cuban
passport. The Cuban passports costs about $450 and must be renewed every
two years at an additional cost of $200. In addition, the Cuban
government reserves the right to accept its nationals, and requires an
authorization or clearance that must be stamped in the passport for an
According to the Democracy Movement, such law seeks to penalize the
Cuban exile community by charging exaggerated fees to those willing to
go to the island.
"We call American Airlines to open a constructive and friendly dialogue
so we all can overcome this discriminatory practice," Sánchez said.
Last April, the Democracy Movement organized a demonstration outside the
headquarters of Carnival Cruise Line for a similar reason. The cruise
company did not allow Cuban Americans to travel to the island on a new
Cuba cruise because Havana banned Cubans from entering the country by sea.
Source: Cuban exile activists to take action against American Airlines
for alleged discrimination | In Cuba Today -