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Cuba Eases Decades-Long Restriction on Sea Travel

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Tuesday, 26 April 2016 14:40

On April 22, the Cuban government lifted restrictions preventing Cubans from entering or exiting the island via cruise or commercial vessel. Following the controversy surrounding Carnival Cruise Line’s discriminatory prohibition of ticket sales to Cuban-American’s, the Castro government changed a decades-old policy as they were faced with the potential loss of millions of tourist dollars to be made off of American cruise lines.

The New York Times discussed the change in policy which seems to have been motivated by the agreement between Carnival and the Cuban government, as well as several lawsuite filed in the United States against Carnival Cruise Lines. The new Cuban travel regulations also allows the entrance or departure of Cuban nationals aboard commercial vessels. As reported by the Times, Carnival and the Cuban government have been engaged in talks following the filing of a class-action lawsuit against Carnival by Cuban-Americans for discrimination. 

Though many are optimistic about business deals between Americans and the Castro regime, a senior policy advisor for PobleteTamargo noted that, “The face-off served as a reminder that Cuba’s thicket of laws and regulations remained far from business friendly.”

Carnival Cruise Line’s will now sell tickets to Cuban-Americans wishing to set sail to Cuba, but the class-action lawsuit has not been withdrawn. The Wall Street Journal reported that plaintiffs are still objecting to the unique passport requirements for Cuban born travelers who have arrived to the US after 1971, who must also present a passport from the Cuban embassy in Washington, DC.

For more details, the NYT article can be found here.


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