Hours after a lawsuit was filed in federal court alleging that Carnival Cruise Line is discriminating against Cuban-born citizens, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez asked the county attorney if Carnival is violating local discrimination laws.
Gimenez said he believes that the company is violating local laws and wonders whether penalties exist and whether Carnival is in breach of any county contracts.
“My kids, my grandchildren — they can all get on the cruise ship, but my wife and I can’t, just simply because we were born in Cuba,” Gimenez said.
Gimenez added his voice to an already loud choir of Cuban-Americans who think the policy is unacceptable.
Carnival has said that the company understands the concerns and believes that everyone should be able to travel to Cuba by ship. The company is asking Cuba to change its policy.
The communist government currently allows Cubans to travel to the island by air, but not by sea.
Some say the policy was instituted to prevent migration, while others say it is political vengeance against Cuban exiles.
But for the attorneys who filed the lawsuit Tuesday, the reasons do not matter.
“A company like Carnival, a company like Fathom, cannot look to another nation and say because they’re willing to discriminate, we’re willing to discriminate,” attorney Tucker Ronzetti said.
The lawsuit claims that Francisco Marty, who is an Army veteran and a frequent passenger on Carnival, was told that he couldn’t travel on Fathom because he’s Cuban-American.
“I was born in Cuba, and haven’t been back in 58 years,” Marty said in a statement. “I’m a Carnival Platinum Club member and unable to fly for health reasons. I wanted to go back to see my native country and share its culture with a surprise trip with my children, but Carnival will not allow my Cuban-born daughter and me to go on its ship.”
Marty claims that a cruise ship representative also told him that Carnival had been working on the issue for months.
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