Carnival may postpone first cruise to Cuba

- Following protests and a lawsuit, Carnival announced on Monday it may postpone a cruise from Florida to Cuba. 

It would be the first U.S. cruise to the communist country in 50 years.

The possible delay is due to a long-standing Cuban policy that bans those born on the island from returning by sea.

Cuban Americans in Tampa protested outside the Tampa Bay Port Authority Monday afternoon, calling the policy discriminatory.

"I was born in Cuba. I came over three days before the Bay of Pigs Invasion. That would have been 54 years," explained Mario Quevedo. "When I show my passport, I am an American citizen. Nobody should make a distinction of where you were born or what color you are."

Monday afternoon, Quevedo, along with a small group of Cuban Americans, presented a letter explaining their sentiments towards Carnival to Raul Alfonso, the Port of Tampa's Chief Commercial Officer.

The group said Carnival's decision to postpone, rather than cancel, the cruise came after a class action lawsuit filed by Cuban Americans who were denied tickets to the cruise.

They encouraged the Port of Tampa to reconsider doing business the company.

A letter they presented to port officials says Carnival, "violates the rights of Cuban-Americans by obeying the orders of the Cuban regime".

"I don't think in this case, that Carnival is the bad corporation. I think that they are trying to do what's best for their organization," said Raul Alfonso of the Tampa Port Authority. "We want everybody to travel to Cuba as Americans, tourists, and so on."

Quevedo said he fears that if American businesses choose to follow the orders of the Cuban government, there will never be true change for the people of Cuba.

Fox 13 reached out to Carnival's Fathom Line, which will be operating the cruise to Cuba. Public relations representative Roger Frizzell said, "We remain confident that we will reach a positive outcome, and we continue to work full speed ahead in preparing for this historic sailing to Cuba on May 1."


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