Cuba travel lawsuit against Carnival withdrawn
The suit was originally filed when Cuban-born travelers were denied
bookings on Carnival's Fathom line
The suit stemmed from a Cuban policy that discriminated against
travelers born in Cuba
Last week Cuba changed its long-standing policy on boat travel
BY MIMI WHITEFIELD
In the wake of a reversal in a Cuban policy that prevented those born in
Cuba from taking cruises to the island, a class-action lawsuit against
Carnival Cruises and its Fathom line was pulled Thursday.
A notice of voluntary dismissal was filed in U.S. District Court in
Miami on behalf of Francisco Marty and Amparo Sanchez, who previously
had been refused bookings on Fathom's maiden voyage from PortMiami to
Cuba because of a Cuban regulatory policy. They claimed the cruise
company was violating their civil rights by denying tickets to those
born in Cuba.
The cruise line later announced it would delay sailing to Cuba until the
regulations were changed to allow Cuban-born Americans to sail.
Last week, Cuba said it was dropping the Cold War-era policy that
prevented those born in Cuba from arriving in or leaving the island by
vessel, clearing the way for the Fathom trip to proceed as scheduled. It
is slated to leave PortMiami at 3:30 p.m. Sunday on a seven-day voyage
with stops in Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago.
"We filed our case with one, simple goal: to end discrimination against
Cuban-born Americans who were being denied cruises to Cuba based on
their place of birth," said Tucker Ronzetti, a lawyer for the
plaintiffs. "The practice has ended, first by Carnival changing its
discriminatory policy, and then by the Cuban government's agreement to
allow Cuban-born Americans to arrive by ship.
Because "Cuban-born and other Americans alike can now take Carnival's
cruises," the notice said, the suit has been withdrawn. "We look forward
to all U.S. citizens, Cuban-born or otherwise, now equally enjoying
cruises to Cuba," said Ronzetti.
Marty, a Bay of Pigs veteran, said he left his native Cuba "because
there was no respect for the rule of law."
"When I was denied passage by Carnival to my native land, I was shocked
that such an action could be taken by a company that calls the Miami
port its home. Discrimination for any reason is not tolerated in the
United States," he said. In effect, Marty said, the "company was
treating me like a second-class citizen of the United States based on my
He said he was gratified by the Cuban reversal. "I knew we would prevail
because this is the United States of America and the rule of law always
wins," Marty said.
A second civil suit seeking equity for travelers born in Cuba was
dismissed when Cuba changed its policy.
Source: Cuba travel lawsuit against Carnival withdrawn | Miami Herald -