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First Cruises to Cuba Will Exclude Cuban-Americans

By: Elena Toledo - @NenaToledo - Apr 14, 2016, 10:40 am

EspañolCarnival Cruises tells potential customers on its website that they have the opportunity to be the “first to go cruising to Cuba in more than 50 years.” That is, unless you happen to be Cuban-American.

Carnival Cruises will begin its trips to Cuba May 1st, but a regulation agreed upon by both US and Cuban officials says Cuban-Americans are prohibited from participating.

“They are imposing Cuban repressive laws on US citizens,” said Maria de los Angeles Torres, University of Illinois at Chicago Professor of Latin American Studies. “It’s like they’re bringing Cuban laws here.”

Torres is also Cuban-American and was sent to the United States as a child during the exodus known as Operation Peter Pan. She has been traveling to Cuba since 1978 for academic research as well as to visit her family. But despite all her liberal credentials, she has been denied passage on Carnival Cruises to Cuba.

“We haven’t built bridges so others could come to close them,” she said.

An article by Miami Herald columnist Fabiola Santiago, puts into perspective the reality of Cuban Americans who want to go to the island and, unlike other Americans, are restricted from doing so.

“Forty-seven years in this country, 36 of them as a citizen and an American voter,” she said, “and I am prohibited from traveling on an American cruise ship because Cuba wishes so.”

[adrotate group=”7″] The route promises a seven-day cruise with stops and inland excursions in Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba —a thorough tour of the island for any visitor.

Roger Frizzell, a spokesman for Carnival told The Miami Herald the company “is only following the established laws.”

“We have requested a change of policy, which has not been granted, but our hope and intention is that everyone may travel,” Frizzel said. “We continue to have conversations (with Cuba) and that is the process we work with.”

For decades, Cuban-Americans were banned entry to Cuba by sea on account of provisions established by the Cuban government. However, the current immigration law that has been enforced since 2012 does not explicitly detail such a provision.

Sources: El Nuevo Herald, Cubanet.

Elena Toledo Elena Toledo

Educator by trade, social-media apprentice, activist for a democratic Honduras, and free thinker. Follow her on Twitter @NenaToledo.