The Florida Roundup: Carnival’s Cuba Controversy, Broward Health, Modified Mosquitoes

By Gina Jordan

The Florida Roundup looks at Carnival’s Cuba controversy, management trouble at Broward Health, and modified mosquitoes in the Keys.

Cruise giant Carnival faces a lawsuit and protests over its plans to sail from Miami to Cuba starting May 1st – and its willingness to follow Cuban law by not allowing Cuban-born Americans to cruise.

Carnival’s cruise brand Fathom got the okay by Cuban authorities last month to start cruising from Miami. The controversy came when it was learned Cuban-born Americans can’t legally arrive in Cuba by sea (taking a plane is okay), so Carnival won’t sell them tickets.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez was born in Cuba, and he thinks Carnival is violating a county ordinance banning discrimination based on national origin.  

People that were born in Cuba that are American citizens like I am cannot purchase a ticket from Carnival for a cruise (to Cuba), and that’s discrimination,” Gimenez told reporters. He wouldn’t say that he would block Carnival from using the county-run PortMiami for its Cuba cruise, but he’s looking into whether he can take action based on Miami-Dade’s human rights code.

Lawyer Tucker Ronzetti represents the two people who filed a lawsuit against Carnival when they were denied tickets. “A company like Carnival, a company like Fathom, cannot look to another nation and say because they’re willing to discriminate, we’ll be willing to discriminate.”

Carnival issued a statement saying it’s abiding by the Cuban law while working with Cuban officials in hopes of changing the policy.

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PBS WPBT Channel 2 “Issues”

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Carnival Cuba Cruise Controversy

As relations between Cuba and the U.S. continue on a path towards normalization, Carnival Cruise Lines announced trips to the island beginning May 1st – but, there’s one problem. According to Cold-War era law, Cuban-born Americans cannot visit their homeland by sea. This has caused uproar among South Florida’s Cuban-American population, including Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

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Carnival retrasaría su viaje si Cuba no elimina ley contra cubano americanos

Coral Gables, Hialeah y Miami Dade hanrechazado la decisión de Carnival de seguir la ley cubana que no permite que los nacidos en la Isla ingresenvíamarítima.

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Lawsuit filed against Carnival, Fathom over Cuba regulations

By Tom Stieghorst 

Two prospective Fathom passengers filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Miami challenging not to allow them on a cruise bound for Cuba because they were born there.

Fathom argues it is conforming to Cuban law which bars anyone born in Cuba from arriving by ship.

Amparo Sanchez and Francisco Marty allege in their suit that Carnival violated their civil rights as outlined in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by discriminating on the basis of national origin.

The suit, filed by the Miami firm Kozyak, Tropin & Throckmorton, seeks class action status.

According to the suit, Sanchez and Marty contacted Carnival separately to reserve a Fathom cruise. Because of their “heavy accents,” the suit alleges, they were asked their national origin and told they could not travel on Fathom because they’re Cuban.

The suit says Sanchez and Marty “have been denied full enjoyment of (Fathom’s) place of public accommodation while being discriminated on the ground of national origin.”

Carnival Corp., which owns the Fathom brand, said in a statement that “any such lawsuit on this issue is without merit or substance.

“It is our hope and intention that everyone can travel and we will continue to pursue a change in the regulation that puts cruising on the same footing as aircraft travel is today in Cuba,” the statement said.

The suit names Carnival Corp. and Fathom Travel Limited Corp. as defendants. It seeks a judgment “enjoining the defendants’ conduct,” and asks for a jury trial.

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Carnival: Cuba es la queimpideviaje de cubanos

Carnival Cuba es la queimpideviaje de cubanos

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Lawsuit filed against Carnival for agreeing to discriminatory Cuba cruise policy

Carnival Corporation’s upcoming voyage to Cuba has struck a nerve among part of Miami’s Cuban American population, inciting a federal lawsuit, protests and criticism from Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

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Class action lawsuit filed against Carnival Corp. over Cuba’s discriminatory cruise policy

Tucker Ronzetti, of the law firm KozyakTropi Throckmorton, discusses the class action lawsuit filed against Carnival Corp. for allegedly violating civil rights by agreeing to Cuba’s discriminatory cruise policy.

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Carnival Sued Over Cuba Ban on Nationals Sailing to Island

Carnival Corp. is being sued in Miami federal court over its adherence to Cuba’s policy that prevents Cuban nationals from arriving or departing the island by sea. NBC 6’s Steve Litz reports.

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Cuba’s opening up to U.S. not without continued obstacles

While Miami Beach commissioners have voted against the establishment of a Cuban consulate in Miami Beach, there’s a new chapter opening in a cruise controversy and a policy that some are calling discriminatory.

In a vote of four to three, Miami Beach commissioners voted against being open to having a Cuban consulate on the beach. “It sends a very clear message about where this community stands in the struggle between freedom and slavery,” said Dr. Orlando Gutierrez-Boronat of the Cuban Democratic Directorate.

This comes the day after a federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of two people who said they were refused a ticket to ride on Carnival’s Cuba-bound ship the Adonia. “A company like Fathom, cannot look to another nation and say, ‘Because they are willing to discriminate, we’ll be willing to discriminate,'” said attorney Tucker Ronzetti.
7News received a statement from one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Francisco Marty, which read, “I was born in Cuba and haven’t been back in 58 years. 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.”

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez also dug into the matter. In a memo, he asked the Miami-Dade County attorney to investigate. “I find it offensive that I, as a citizen of the United States, although born in Cuba, cannot buy a ticket,” Gimenez said.

Many people are looking for a clear message from the Carnival Corporation in response to protests and the aforementioned lawsuit. “We are hoping that Carnival will do the right, legal and moral thing and end the policy of discrimination,” Ronzetti said.

Roger Frizzell, the Chief Communications Officer of the Carnival Corporation released a statement Wednesday afternoon, which read in part, “This is not a decision by our Fathom brand but rather a Cuba decision. Any such lawsuit on this issue is without merit or substance. We will continue to pursue a change in the regulation.”

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