Cuban Americans banned from first cruise to Cuba in decades
11 APRIL 2016 • 4:47PM
A Cuban-American national has been refused permission to travel on the
first American-owned cruise ship to visit the island in decades.
Cuban-born Maria de los Angela Torres, an academic at the University of
Illinois, tried to book a cabin on a Fathom cruise to the Caribbean
island and was put on a waiting list for a $2,470 ocean-view cabin. She
came unstuck when the reservation agent requested her passport information.
The country has a longstanding regulation that forbids Cuban-born
individuals, regardless of US citizenship, to travel from the US to Cuba
by seagoing vessels, including cruise ships and ferries.
In keeping with Cuba’s arrival on the American tourist map, the island’s
government last month gave Carnival Corporation the green light to
operate the 704-passenger Adonia under its new brand, Fathom.
Prof Torres travelled to the US as a child in the 1960s during Operation
Pedro Pan, a US-led rescue for children whose parents opposed the
government of Fidel Castro.
According to the Miami Herald, Prof Torres has been traveling to Cuba
since 1978 to visit family and for academic research. “Despite all her
liberal credentials, in the age of engagement she has been refused a
place on the Carnival cruises to Cuba,” the paper reports.
US-based cruise lawyer Jim Walker says: “Carnival is acting in ‘cahoots’
with Cuba, as the Herald points out. It’s pathetic and disgraceful on
Carnival’s part. Carnival acquiesced to the discriminatory policies of
the totalitarian Castro regime as a quid pro quo to be the first cruise
line to do business in Cuba. When faced with an important principle,
Carnival sold out for profits.”
A statement released by the Carnival Corporation said that Prof Torres
may yet travel. It read: “Of course, it is our policy to obey the
regulations and laws of the countries we sail to around the world.
However, we have requested a reconsideration of this particular
regulation especially as it relates to cruise travellers.
“We understand and empathize with the concerns being voiced and will
continue to work the issue with Cuban officials. It is our hope and
intention that we will be able to travel with everyone.”
The first cruise ship to visit Cuba from the US in more than 50 years
will depart Miami for Havana on May 1.
Source: Cuban-Americans banned from cruising to Cuba –