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    Cuban Americans banned from first cruise to Cuba in decades

    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 –
    www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/cruises/news/Cuban-Americans-banned-from-first-cruise-to-Cuba/

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