Carnival first company sued for profiting from expropriated Cuban property

Carnival first company sued for profiting from expropriated Cuban property

Carnival first company sued for profiting from expropriated Cuban property

The unprecedented action was made possible following a move by the Trump administration to fully implement Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, also known as the Libertad Act, which allows United States nationals to sue for damages over private property seized during the Cuban revolution.

Before Trump, every U.S. president had waived enforcement of the Title III provision of Helms-Burton, in part to avoid conflicts with Washington allies.

Under the act, Americans are able to seek compensation from foreign companies that are using their land in Cuba. "All those properties were nationalized after the revolution and the majority of the owners were compensated", Havana resident Agustin Oviedo, 79, told Xinhua.

"I know Bengochea has been in contact with Carnival and later will file suit against other companies including Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines", he said, adding he would also file numerous suits for clients in the coming weeks.

"In the 1960s the Castro brothers and the communist friends came and stole our property from my grandfather at gunpoint", said Mickael Behn, the president of Havana Docks Corporation.

Helms-Burton, which was approved by the US Congress in 1996, codifies the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by Washington nearly 60 years ago against the island.

Carnival declined to comment on the lawsuit, except to say it was continuing its normal schedule of cruises to Cuba.

Behn's family owned docks in Havana and Javier Garcia-Bengochea's owned docks in Santiago de Cuba.

The activation of the aforementioned section of the Helms-Burton Act is part of the aggressive policy adopted by the Trump administration against the Antillean territory, and its main objective is to discourage foreign investment on the island, whose government has reiterated that the legislation is inapplicable.

"The EU considers the extra-territorial application of unilateral restrictive measures to be contrary to global law and will draw on all appropriate measures to address the effects of the Helms-Burton Act", including at the World Trade Organization and through the use of the EU Blocking Statute, Mogherini said in the statement. As a response, Europe intends to limit the effects of the Helms-Burton Act by using the "Blocking Statute" and by taking the United States to the World Trade Organisation.

Cuba's envoy to the EU, Norma Goicochea, expressed confidence that the EU would stand firm.

"The EU will draw on all appropriate measures to address the effects of the USA measures, " Mogherini said.

The measures adopted by the U.S. will undoubtedly have important repercussions on the Cuban population in general given that, since the middle of past year, Cuba has faced difficulties in paying the current account for its imports of food and basic goods. which has resulted in the shortage of various products of high demand and a rise in the prices of food products.

Jose Ramon Lopez Requeiro, whose father Jose Lopez Vilaboy was the main shareholder of the Havana airport before the revolution, is expected to file suit in the coming days against various USA airlines.

"Thanks to the Cuban exile community and the Libertad Act, we can finally get justice after 60 years", Behn said.

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