Thursday,  March 30, 2023  1:21 am

Cruise lines ordered to pay $400M+ for “trafficking” in confiscated Havana ports

  • Air
  •   01-03-2023  7:09 am
  •   Pax Global Media

Cruise lines ordered to pay $400M+ for “trafficking” in confiscated Havana ports
Pax Global Media

Four Florida-based cruise lines have been ordered by a judge to pay more than US$400 million in damages for use of port piers in Havana, Cuba that were expropriated by Fidel Castro in 1960.

As reported in the Miami Herald, the decision by U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom follows another consequential ruling last March in which she concluded that Carnival, MSC SA, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian committed “trafficking acts” and engaged in “prohibited tourism” by taking U.S. travellers to Cuba by using Havana port facilities that Castro had confiscated.

The Cuban government never paid Havana Docks, the U.S. company with the legal rights to the facilities and whose property claim was certified by the U.S. Justice Department’s Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, the report explains.

The four cruise lines would have to pay Havana Docks $439 million in total plus attorney fees and costs, according to the ruling.

Each company has been ordered to pay the amount of the original property claim plus decades of interest, the report says.

“Defendants’ offences in these cases have been established, and the Court found that Defendants derived significant amounts of revenue — in the hundreds of millions of dollars each — from their wrongful trafficking activities, and to Plaintiff’s detriment,” judge Bloom wrote. “A lower award as Defendants suggest would not effectively serve a deterrent purpose, since a lesser award could conceivably be considered merely a cost of doing business.”

The key provision in the Helms-Burton Act that allows lawsuits against those using unlawfully confiscated property in Cuba, called Title III, was suspended by each president since Bill Clinton signed it until Donald Trump was elected. 

Trump, however, enacted it in 2019, opening the gate to lawsuits.

A Carnival spokesperson told the Miami Herald the company does not believe its actions were wrong.

“Carnival Corporation engaged in lawful travel explicitly licensed, authorized and encouraged by the U.S. government,” Jody Venturoni told the outlet. “We strongly disagree with both the ruling and judgment, and plan to appeal these decisions.”

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