This week Cuban-Americans here in South Florida have protested against a Cuban law that bars them from entering Cuba by ship. Thursday they got high-level backing. Presidential cabinet-level.
On a visit to Miami, Secretary of State John Kerry addressed a new controversy regarding the normalization of relations with communist Cuba. The dispute involves a Cuban law that prohibits Cuban-born Americans from traveling to the island by sea. The rule effectively bans Cuban-Americans from sailing to Cuba with the Miami-based Carnival Corporation when it begins cruises from PortMiami to Cuba May 1.
Kerry told Michael Putney on WPLG Channel 10 that Carnival should not bow to a discriminatory Cuban law.
“I would counsel them that they need to be sensitive to the fact of discrimination," Kerry told WPLG, "and they should not embrace a policy that is Cuban which winds up discriminating against Americans.”
This week Cuban-Americans filed a class-action lawsuit claiming Carnival is violating federal anti-discrimination law.
Kerry also told Channel 10 he thinks Cuba’s continued short-term detention of dissidents – instead of longer imprisonment – may signal a changing human rights scenario.
“I don’t like it," Kerrry said. "I’m not condoning it. I’m not suggesting we want short-term detentions. But the point is that it proves that the system is in a sort of elastic stage, where people are pulling and then it pulls back a bit and they pull some more. That’s part of the change.”
Cuba will begin a four-day Communist Party Congress in Havana on Saturday.