US courts dismiss US lawsuits against Cuba

Washington, May 28 (Prensa Latina) South Florida District Judge Robert N. Scola dismissed a lawsuit against Booking, Hotels, Expedia and Orbitz under Title III of the controversial Helms-Burton Act against Cuba, which is currently in force.

Scola, who had definitely rejected a similar lawsuit against Amazon this month, accepted requests from hotel and travel booking companies to definitively dismiss the lawsuit filed by Mario Del Valle, Enrique Falla and Angelo Pou.

Each plaintiff claimed to be heir to a tract of land of three beachfront properties, located in Varadero, in the western province of Matanzas, which were nationalized as a result of the Agrarian Reform Bill boosted in Cuba after the triumph of the Revolution on January 1, 1959.

In these properties, all constructions there were demolished to build the Starfish Cuatro Palmas hotel and the Memories Jibacoa resort, which people can book via the websites of those demanded companies.

As reported by the legal news service Law360, in his ruling the judge concluded that the Helms-Burton Act does not allow claims based on properties obtained through inheritance after March 12, 1996, the date on which the controversial legislation was approved.

In Law360’s opinion, these types of decisions like that of the magistrate could have an impact beyond the immediate case since the lawsuits presented are part of a wave of litigation started since May 2, 2019, when the Trump administration decided to activate Title III of the Helms-Burton Act.

That section, which previous governments refused to implement, allows Americans to sue individuals and entities, even from third countries, to invest in Cuban territory in nationalized properties after the revolutionary triumph.

Contrary to what was foreseen by those who conceived the legislation, in the first year of its launch, the largest number of companies sued are from the US, since in addition to Amazon, others such as American Airlines, Visa and Expedia are included.

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