UPDATE 2-U.S.' Kerry: Carnival should not bar Cuban-Americans from cruises to Cuba
(Adds additional comment from Kerry in paragraphs 4-5; adds comment from State Department official in paragraph 7)
By Patricia Zengerle
MIAMI, April 14 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned Carnival Corp on Thursday for barring Cuban-Americans from its planned cruises to Cuba and called on the Cuban government to change its policies to allow them.
"Carnival needs to not discriminate," Kerry said in an interview with CNN en Espanol and the Miami Herald.
Cuban-born Americans cannot visit the island by sea, due to a Cuban law that dates to the Cold War era, and therefore are barred from joining in Carnival's sailings to the island, the Miami Herald has reported. People born in Cuba can, however, travel to the island on an airplane.
"American citizens, Cuban Americans have a right to travel, and we should not be in a situation where the Cuban government is forcing its discrimination policy on us," Kerry said.
"So we call on the government of Cuba to change that policy and to recognize that if they want a full relationship, a normal relationship, with the United States, they have to live by international law and not exclusively by their own," he said during a trip to Miami.
Carnival officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But the company has told the Miami Herald it had no choice but to enforce the rule when booking tickets for its new Miami-to-Havana route. It said it has asked the Cuban government to waive the rule before the first ship sails on May 1.
A State Department official said, "Secretary Kerry in no way meant to convey that Carnival is supporting policies that are discriminating against Cuban American travelers." Continuación...