Carnival sued for docking in Cuba

2019, July 1: Two USA citizens filed lawsuits against Carnival Corporation in the USA for docking its ships in Cuban ports. Carnival immediately moved to have these cases dismissed by the court.

The two citizens who claimed to hold titles to Havana and Santiago de Cuba ports, charged that Carnival profited from confiscated Cuban property, arguing that the ports were nationalised by Fidel Castro in the 1959 Cuban Revolution.


The case brought against the cruise line cited a little-known section of the 1996 Helms-Burton Act which the Trump administration recently announced would take effect on May 2 (2019). The law allows USA citizens to sue Cuban entities and foreign firms over confiscated Cuban property. This was regarded as an attempt to pressure Cuba over its support for the government of Venezuela, the overthrow of which the USA is currently publicly advocating.

Expectations were that many cases would be brought to court. However, only two were filed following the May 2 date.

Carnival’s defence was that “by its own terms, trafficking under Helms-Burton does not include uses of property ‘incident to lawful travel to Cuba’. It was also argued that the travel exemption should protect US carriers doing lawful business with Cuba under licenses granted by former President Barack Obama during the period of detente. []