MIAMI - Carnival Corporation faces criticism for what some are calling discriminatory business practices, after the company decided to comply with the Cuban government's request to ban Cuban-born tourists.
The U.S. Treasury lifted obstacles to allow Carnival to start doing business in Cuba. Their cruises start May 1. The company's advertisement: "Be the first to cruise to Cuba in over 50 years. Visit our sister Fathom Travel and reserve your spot now."
They missed this part: But not if you were born in Cuba. Despite that, there is a waiting list.
There are some who were born in Cuba, but are now U.S. citizens traveling with a U.S. passport that says they were born in Cuba. President Raul Castro's administration is not making exceptions. Carnival is requesting a change, as there are ongoing negotiations.
The Cuban government stands to make money out of the port fees. French cruise line Ponant announced Thursday that they will begin sailing from Miami to Cuba in 2017. For now, each Carnival passenger will be paying $283 in port fees.
The Miami Herald's Fabiola Santiago, who was born in Cuba, was outraged.
"Imagine a cruise line that won't take African Americans on sailings to Africa," Santiago said in her column.
Cubans and Cuban-Americans said they were planning protests. The Democracy Movement has one planned April 12 at the Carnival Corporation building and on May 1, they welcome boaters to join them at the Miami Yacht Club to protest on Biscayne Bay when the first cruise ship sails to the island.
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