Family of Cuban emigrants in the US sue Trivago under Helms-Burton law

HAVANA, June 20 The German company Trivago, of online hotel searches, was sued by a law firm in the city of Miami on behalf of a family …

of Cuban emigrants residing in the United States, under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act that allows this type of legal action, local media reported.

“The class action indicates the interest of the law firm’s clients to also include the companies Expedia Inc., Booking Holdings, Inc. and their respective subsidiaries and affiliates in the litigation if those companies do not cease trafficking and compensate the plaintiffs. “, published the American newspaper El Nuevo Herald on Wednesday.

This claim is based on the alleged benefits of these companies that offers hotel reservations online and also facilitates the booking of airlines, car rental and destination services of travel providers, to provide services to properties that were nationalized or confiscated in the decade 1960 in Cuba.

The plaintiffs, Marisela Mata and Bibiana Hernández, are descendants of Antonio Mata and Álvarez, who built the San Carlos hotel in Cienfuegos in 1925 and left the country after the government of Fidel Castro expropriated the building in 1962, the law website said. .com

Title III of the US Helms-Burton law, which allows these actions in courts against properties nationalized in Cuba, was activated by the government headed by Donald Trump on May 2, after being suspended for 23 years.

That same day, Javier Bengochea and Mickael Behn, filed lawsuits against the Carnival cruise company, for allegedly “trafficking” with nationalized properties on the island. Bengochea claimed property in the port of Santiago de Cuba (east) before the federal court of Miami , action also undertaken by Behn, heir of the Havana Docks company, with properties in the port of Havana.

A day later, on May 3, a new lawsuit against Cuban companies was filed by the US company Exxon Mobil, which claims rights over properties that were expropriated in Cuba in 1960, including oil refineries and service stations, which are still in use. .

Exxon Mobil sued Cuban companies Corporación CIMEX S.A. and the Cuba-Petróleo Union (CUPET) for alleged charges of “illegal trafficking of confiscated property,” as regulated by Title III of the Helms-Burton Act.

On May 21, another family of Cuban origin living in the US sued the hotel companies of the island of Gran Caribe, Cubanacán, and Gaviota, and the Cimex corporation, for the use of the San Carlos hotel -now Meliá San Carlos-, which It currently operates as a joint venture between the Spanish Meliá and the Cuban Gran Caribe. The Spanish hotel chain Meliá does not appear among the defendants, but it was confirmed that it received a notification in which it is informed that, if it does not pay compensation, it would be included in the collective claim.

The Cuban authorities have classified these demands as illegal, extraterritorial, and violating these lawsuits, and consider them as a resurgence of the economic, commercial, and financial blockade that Washington has imposed on the island since 1962.

Several countries with strong investor presence in the island have expressed their rejection to this law approved in 1996, among them Mexico, Spain, Canada and the European Union, who threatened the US with establishing a claim in the World Trade Organization.

Translated from Sputnik