Carnival's "Social Impact": Support Dictators, Degrade Cubans and Traffic in Stolen Property

Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Carnival Cruise Lines announced today that it has received a specific license from the Treasury Department for its "social impact" trips to Cuba.

The license would allow Carnival to take "people-to-people" travelers on humanitarian trips to the island.

Carnival would like to launch these trips by May 2016, but it still has a long way to go.

First, it needs approval from the Castro regime.

And as the head of Castro's Interests Section in Washington, D.C., Jose Cabanas, recently reminded a group of eager cruise and ferry types: "This will take time. These companies have to go to our authorities, they have to introduce their ideas. Some of them we already know. But they are not all equal."

(Pro bono advice: Brush up on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.)

Furthermore, the U.S. House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved language -- by a vote of 247-176 -- in the FY'16 Transportation Appropriations bill that would prohibit the use of confiscated property by any new flights or vessels authorized for travel to Cuba.

But -- à la Donald Trump -- this is a publicity ploy by Carnival, whose ships have been stung by a string of bad accidents, illnesses and other incidents in recent years.

Also like Trump, it's a particularly distasteful ploy, considering that Carnival is based in the heart of the Cuban-American community, which has always embraced it.

To wit:

During today's announcement, Carnival's CEO Arnold Donald said the cruise line "would have to work it out with the Cuban government as to what sorts of humanitarian programs are needed there."

Work out humanitarian programs with the worst violator of human rights in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the worst violators in the entire world?

Seriously?

Here's a summary of the humanitarian activities of the Cuban government (from the State Department's most recent report on Cuba's human rights practices):

"[T]he abridgement of the ability of citizens to change the government and the use of government threats, extrajudicial physical assault, intimidation, violent government-organized counter-protests against peaceful dissent, and harassment and detentions to prevent free expression and peaceful assembly."

They'll surely provide Carnival with some great "humanitarian" suggestions.

As if working with Cuba's vile dictatorship weren't enough, Carnival (in conjunction with the Obama Administration) further degrades the Cuban people by acquiescing to apartheid.

According to the Castro regime's draconian edicts, Cubans are not authorized to board any vessel. This includes fishing boats, yachts, catamaran, jet-skis, etc. The only exception are Cubans married to citizens of another country, which can request a special permit.

Moreover, in contravention of international law, Cubans (regardless of where they reside or their nationality) are prohibited from entering their own homeland through maritime ports.

In other words, anyone born in Cuba (regardless of whether they are now a U.S. citizen), are prohibited from entering the island through a maritime port.

Castro's Naval Command Center specifically states, "No Cuban is authorized to navigate in Cuba. The only exception are those married to citizens of another country, who must request a permit beforehand."

And according to Cubatur, the military-owned tourism agency, “Cubans — wherever they live — can’t be sold package tours that include a catamaran or a yacht. This is exclusively reserved for foreign tourists.

Finally, Carnival would be trafficking in properties stolen from American citizens.

As Dr. Javier Garcia Bengochea, a certified U.S. claimant, testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee last month:

"Americans assume when they invest in Cuba clear title and basic protections will be in place. Nothing could be further from the truth. Contract sanctity, an independent judiciary and transparent regulatory and enforcement agencies do not exist there. Foreign entities Fred Olsen Cruise Lines and China Harbor Engineering Company do business in the U.S. while using my stolen port."

Add Carnival to that list, as one of its planned stops would be at Dr. Garcia-Bengochea's stolen port.

As he eloquently concluded:

"Ladies and gentlemen, what is past is prologue. Unless the claims are settled any American enterprise in Cuba will have the legitimacy of a drug deal. Trafficking in stolen property is not economic opportunity; it is not 'pro-business' or normal; it is criminal and immoral."

If Carnival wants to truly make a "social impact" -- here are three easy steps:

Don't support dictators, degrade their victims or traffic in stolen property.