Ban on lawsuits against foreign firms doing business in Cuba lifted

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:16 AM PT — Friday, May 3, 2019

Carnival Cruise Line is being hit with an unprecedented lawsuit filed by businessmen, who sought justice after their families properties were seized in Cuba’s socialist revolution nearly 60-years ago.

This comes after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared last month the end of the ban on lawsuits against foreign firms.

“I’m announcing that the Trump administration will no longer suspend Title III, effective May 2nd,” he stated. “The right to bring an action under Title III Libertad Act will be implemented in full.”

Title III allows Americans and Cubans, who later became Americans, to sue almost any company deemed to be “trafficking” in property confiscated by Cuba’s government.

Since the passage of the Libertad Act — also known as the Helms-Burton Act — in 1996, every president since Bill Clinton suspended Title III because of objections from U.S. allies doing business in Cuba. As tensions rise in Venezuela, however, President Trump is now the first president to enact Title III as the administration is toughening its stance on socialist dictatorships throughout Latin America.

“And today, May 2, 2019 is an historic day because that suspension has been lifted and finally, our clients and others in their position are going to have the opportunity to seek justice which has been so sorely denied to them,”said civil trial lawyer Rodney Margol.

Mickael Behn wipes tears from his eyes during a news conference after he and Javier Garcia-Bengochea filed lawsuits against Carnival Cruise Line, which has been using their former properties in Cuba, Thursday, May 2, 2019, in Miami. Behn and Garcia-Bengochea, are the heirs of families that owned ports in Havana and Santiago de Cuba now being used to dock cruise ships that began traveling to Cuba in 2016 under President Barack Obama’s detente with the island. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Carnival Cruise Line is the first company to be sued, with the plaintiffs seeking up to $20 million in compensation.

“The quest for justice and equal protection under the law, we are pleased to have the opportunity to be the first announce the lawsuits under the Helms-Burton Act against Carnival,” said plaintiff Javier Garcia-Bengochea. “They were the first cruise line to traffic in our stolen properties, so they deserve the ignominious distinction of being the first to be sued under the act.”

There are nearly 6,000 certified claims of American property confiscated by the Cuban government during the socialist revolution. All together, the properties are estimated to be worth more than eight billion dollars in current value.

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