U.S. Judge Dismisses Lawsuit against Melia Hotels over Cuba Properties

Caribbean News…
04 January 2020 10:54pm

An American judge decided to remove the Spanish hotel chain Melia from a lawsuit filed against him under Title III of the controversial Helms-Burton Law against Cuba.

According to that Spanish publication, specialized in tourism, Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga, of the southern US state of Florida, paralyzed yesterday a trial scheduled for next January 10 in which the claim of a family on the use of one of the hotels managed by Melia on the Caribbean island.

The media, which said they had access to the document of the court order, reported that the same document also separates Internet travel reservation agencies such as Trivago, and Cuban hotel groups Gran Caribe, Cubanacan and Gaviota from the case, reports the Prensa Latina agency.

Melia filed a motion on December 31 before the Florida court to end the dispute, a petition that was estimated only two days later by the judge instructing the case.

The process should begin next week, when the parties had to select a mediator and schedule a time, date and place to carry out the meeting, and a few days later, on January 31, the allegations should be presented.

As part of its growing hostility towards Cuba, the Donald Trump administration activated on May 2, 2019, Title III of the Helms-Burton Act of 1996, which allows Americans to file lawsuits in US courts against individuals and entities, even from third countries, which invest in Cuban territory in nationalized properties after the triumph of the Revolution on January 1, 1959.

In what is seen as a contradiction with international law, that section grants claimant authority to Cuban-Americans who were Cuban citizens at the time the properties were nationalized.

Following that activation, that same month members of the Mata family filed a collective complaint in the federal court of the Southern District of Florida, to request compensation for the use of the Melia San Carlos hotel, located in the central Cuban province of Cienfuegos.

The result of this week in Florida comes after, also last September, Melia had another success in the courts when the Spanish justice ordered to file in the European country a lawsuit filed against the group by the Sanchez-Hill family, due to the alleged illegitimate exploitation of some hotels in Cuba.

Back to top