|Photo by Freeimages.com/Megan Williamson|
Amparo Sanchez and Francisco Marty have filed a lawsuit in Miami federal court against Carnival Corp. and its new social impact cruise brand, fathom, after they were denied a ticket on the line's May 1 cruise to Cuba when they revealed they were born in Cuba, the Miami Herald reports. Under Cuban law, Cuban-born Americans cannot visit the country by sea, although they are allowed to fly there. Marty said that he is unable to fly for health reasons.
According to the lawsuit, fathom's acceptance of the Cuban policy violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in places of accommodation, including cruise ships. An attorney for the plaintiffs, Robert W. Rodriguez, cited a similar instance to the Miami Herald in which an Israeli citizen filed a discrimination complaint against Kuwait Airways after it refused to sell a ticket from New York JFK to London due to a Kuwaiti law prohibiting business with Israeli citizens. In response, the U.S. Department of Transportation threatened legal action against the airline, which eliminated service between the two airports.
According to USA Today, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez has also requested an official opinion on whether Carnival Corp. is violating a county regulation due to the policy.
Carnival Corp. has argued that it has been working with the Cuban government to try to get the policy reversed. "We believe there is a much better opportunity to effect a change in the policy by having an active dialogue with the Cubans versus some of the policies in the past years," the company said in a statement provided to USA Today.
The lawsuit follows a protest Tuesday when about 50 people protested Carnival Corp.'s acceptance of the Cuban policy outside the company's headquarters, ABC News reports.
Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for further updates to this developing story.