American Airlines became the first air carrier to be sued for conducting business on properties confiscated by the government in Cuba, despite having obtained authorization from the Barack Obama government to fly to the island.
The lawsuit against American Airlines and the LATAM Airlines Group was filed Wednesday. It was filed Miami federal court, for “trafficking” in Cuban property expropriated after the 1959 communist revolution. It was filed by José Ramón López Regueiro. He is the son of José López Vilaboy. He was a businessman close to Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Also, he was the owner in 1959 of what is now Havana’s José Martí International Airport. The airport was confiscated by the revolutionary government led by Fidel Castro.
This is one of several suits that have been filed after the Trump administration implemented Title III of the 1996 Helms-Burton Act. The law allows the original owners of Cuban properties confiscated six decades ago to sue companies “trafficking” in them for three times their current value.
“I have had to wait 60 years, unfortunately. But in the end, there will be justice.” López Regueiro said
About 50 airlines, including five American carriers, fly to José Martí International Airport.
Should American airlines be worried?
American Airlines has not taken an equity interest in the airport and does not have a joint venture there. They do not appear to be “trafficking” in the property of the airport, just using it. Their flights have been authorized by the USA government, Department of Transportation and the US Office of Foreign Assets Control.
“American Airlines’ service to Cuba including José Martí International Airport in Havana is authorized by the U.S. government including the Department of Transportation and the US Office of Foreign Assets Control. In addition, Title III specifically exempts lawful travel, which is what American provides. We’ll review this lawsuit in detail and vigorously defend our service to Cuba.” An American Airlines spokesperson said in a statement
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About the author: Mila Kostic is a native of Belgrade, Serbia. After majoring in sociology at the Belgrade University she has been working as tutor and coach. Prior to taking on her role at Mighty Travels, she wrote for a video games, fitness, and health lifestyle website. After starting her work with the Mighty Travels team she discovered her passion for travel and travel writing. Now, she is focused on bringing you the newest travel news. In her portfolio here at Mighty Travels, you can find articles on Airline news, hottest credit card deals, tips and tricks on earning miles and much more. You can reach her at [email protected]
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