Cuban protesters picket Carnival headquarters

A group of about 30 to 40 protesters marched outside Carnival Corp. headquarters in the Doral section of Miami, concerned about next month’s groundbreaking Fathom voyage to Cuba.

The protesters held placards accusing Carnival of “apartheid” because Cuban-born U.S. residents and citizens aren’t permitted on the Fathom trip to Cuba.

The protest was organized by the Movimiento Democracia, headed by Ramon Saul Sanchez, a long-time anti-Castro activist.

Cuban regulations stipulate that anyone born in Cuba cannot reenter the country by ship. Carnival released a statement saying it was sympathetic to the protest but that “we must comply with the visa, entry and exit policies of each country.”

Carnival said it is requesting that the Cuban policy be changed. “There has been a policy change with air travel to Cuba, so we are hopeful that a similar change can also happen with travel by sea,” the statement said.

In addition to picketing Carnival, the Sanchez group plans a flotilla of small boats in Biscayne Bay on May 1 when the first Fathom cruise to Cuba is scheduled to depart. In a website posting, Sanchez said he planned a meeting with the Coast Guard to discuss the idea.

In January, a flotilla of small protest boats at Labadee, Haiti, led Royal Caribbean International to cancel several calls at its private beach destination there.


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