A company that owned the cruise terminal in Havana prior to
its 1960 confiscation by the Castro government has filed suit seeking damages
from Carnival Corp.
The suit was filed in federal court in Miami by Havana Docks
Corp. pursuant to the Libertad Act, better known as the Helms-Burton Act of
Trump administration officials recently moved to end a longstanding
federal policy that suspended the right to sue under the act's provisions,
clearing the way for lawsuits.
The 1996 act was intended to prevent companies from "trafficking"
in property confiscated by the Castro government after the Cuban Revolution.
While it seeks damages, the suit does not ask the court to
stop Carnival Corp. or its brands from sailing to Cuba.
Carnival chief communications officer Roger Frizzell said
the company is continuing with its normal cruise schedule to Cuba.
In the suit, Havana Docks said it is the rightful owner of
the Havana Cruise Port Terminal, which it "continually owned, possessed
and used" from 1917 until 1960.
The suit says that by launching sailings from Miami to Cuba
starting in 2016, Carnival "profited" from the Cuban government's
possession of the property.
The suit doesn't say how much it expects Carnival to pay,
but it lays out several formulas for compensation.
In a statement, CLIA said that cruise lines sailing to Cuba
have a proper defense against lawsuits under Helms-Burton.
"Cruising to Cuba falls under the lawful travel
exemption under Title 3 of the Helms-Burton Act," CLIA said. "Our
cruise members have been and are now engaged in lawful travel to Cuba as
expressly authorized by the U.S. federal government."