MIAMI (AP) — Some Cuban Americans are complaining that Carnival Corporation is unfairly excluding them from sailing with the company when the cruise line heads to Cuba for the first time in decades.
The Adonia will leave Miami and head to Havana on May 1 and will travel every two weeks with additional stops in Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. Cuban law forbids Cuban natives from leaving or entering the country by ship, although the island nation does allow air travel for Cuban-born individuals.
The Miami Herald (http://tinyurl.com/zscjyye) reports about 50 people protested Tuesday outside Carnival headquarters, saying the policies are disrespectful to Cuban Americans.
"Who is the Cuban government to tell Carnival who it can take to Cuba and who it can't?" said Norys Aguila, a Cuban American who came to the U.S. in 1961 as a child during the Pedro Pan exodus. "And for Carnival to accept such a baseness, it is completely disrespectful against all Cuban Americans, against the laws of this country."
He said the cruise line should take all passengers to Cuba or no one. Others complained that while the cruise line's stance was legal, it was not moral.
The Cuban national anthem played as protesters held signs calling on Carnival Corp. to stop "nationality apartheid."
Carnival noted in a statement that it must comply with the visas, entry and exit policies of every country, but has lodged a request with the Cuban government to change the ship policy.
"We believe we have a much better chance in helping to effect that change by working within the current boundaries of the policy while engaged in an active commercial agreement," the company said in a statement.
This story has been clarified to reflect that Carnival said it will ask Cuba to change the ship policy, not "policies."