Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Opinion

Another voice: Carnival should table Cuba cruise launch

The decision may be disappointing, but it shouldn't be tough for Carnival Corp., now engulfed in a public relations nightmare over its initial cruise to Cuba.

Now that it knows Cuban-born Americans would be forbidden from disembarking, Carnival should cancel its weeklong May 1 voyage to Cuba, the first by an American cruise line.

Indeed, until Cuba changes its long-standing policy of prohibiting native-born Cuban-Americans from arriving by sea, all American cruise lines, ferry operators and shipping companies should collectively call a time-out on plans to sail to Cuba.

It is not okay for an American business to abide by policies that discriminate against Americans. It is not okay for an American business to check the birthplace on citizens' passports before letting them aboard. It is not okay for an American business to create two classifications of Americans, no matter the rhetoric of presidential candidates who would discriminate against Muslim-Americans and gays.

Carnival should follow the lead of Norwegian Cruise Line, which two years ago faced a similar defining moment when Tunisia refused to let about 20 Israeli citizens disembark. In that case, Norwegian said it didn't know Tunisia was going to prohibit Israelis from entering. Still, the next week, the cruise line dropped the port of Tunis from its itineraries.

Upon receiving permission to launch cruises to Cuba two weeks ago, Carnival had expected the Castro government would lift its restriction on Cuban-born Americans who arrive by sea, as it has for those who arrive by air. Now, the company is trying to negotiate the policy change. "We believe we have a much better chance in helping to effect that change by working within the current boundaries of the policy while engaged in an active commercial agreement," it said in a statement.

But it's hard to see how moving forward with a 700-person cruise, every other week, will better convince Cuba to change its policy toward seafaring Cuban-born Americans.

Indeed, it sounds to us like Carnival, in charting a new business frontier, is most focused on being first in the market. And to be first to Havana, it's submitting to a communist dictator who wants to stick it to Cuban-Americans.

For those of us who have supported President Barack Obama's decision to re-engage Cuba after 54 years of failed policies, it's again disappointing that Raul Castro refuses to move more quickly in breaking down even small barriers like this one.

In this moment, we're reminded of something Obama said during his historic trip to Cuba last month. "In the United States, we have a clear monument to what the Cuban people can build: It's called Miami."

Miami is a great city in large part because of many great contributions by Cuban-Americans.

A good number of our Cuban-born neighbors may never want to visit the island until it embraces real democratic change, but that should be their choice.

Unless Cuba accepts all Americans who'd like to cruise there, Carnival should table the launch of its inaugural cruise to Cuba.

And to show support for our fellow Americans, other citizens booked on this cruise might similarly want to reconsider their plans.

Comments
Column: Republicans gutted the mortgage interest deduction. Democrats should finish it off.

Column: Republicans gutted the mortgage interest deduction. Democrats should finish it off.

One of the most remarkable things about the tax bill Republicans passed last year was how it took a rotary saw to the mortgage interest deduction. The benefit for homeowners was once considered a politically untouchable upper-middle-class entitlement...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Writing a new law that phases out separate accreditation for the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and folds it back into the major research university was the easy part. The hard work starts today when a new consolidation task force holds i...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Romano: Forget the sewers, St. Pete has a crisis of trust

Romano: Forget the sewers, St. Pete has a crisis of trust

Imagine what kind of spin the world might have endured had St. Petersburg sewer officials been asked to explain the final Hindenburg flight. • The landing, city leaders acknowledged, was bumpy. • Some passengers chose to disembark befor...
Published: 04/23/18

Correction

CorrectionCircuit Judge John Stargel of Lakeland is a member of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission who voted against a proposed amendment that would have stopped write-in candidates from closing primary elections. An editorial Saturday inco...
Published: 04/23/18

Leonhardt: A time for big economic ideas

The headlines may talk about growth, but we are living in a dark economic era. For most families, income and wealth have stagnated in recent decades, barely keeping pace with inflation. Nearly all the bounty of the economy’s growth has flowed to the ...
Published: 04/23/18
PolitiFact Florida: Does Gov. Rick Scott want to privatize Social Security?

PolitiFact Florida: Does Gov. Rick Scott want to privatize Social Security?

The president of a PAC that works to protect Social Security says Florida Gov. Rick Scott doesn’t have the backs of senior citizens.Jon "Bowzer" Bauman, the president of the Social Security Works PAC (and a former member of the band Sha Na Na), blast...
Published: 04/23/18
Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Not too many people took then-candidate Donald Trump seriously when he famously campaigned to "drain the swamp" as president. But that shouldn’t give this administration a free pass to excuse the behavior of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Env...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Perspective: The Heartland to Headwaters Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition finds frustration and fear seeking a safe path for wildlife across Interstate 4

Perspective: The Heartland to Headwaters Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition finds frustration and fear seeking a safe path for wildlife across Interstate 4

The original Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition in 2012 was inspired by how the Florida black bear roamed — and the space it needed to do so successfully. In 2010, expedition team member Joe Guthrie conducted research through the University of Kent...
Published: 04/22/18
Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

The writer of the letter sounds hysterical. Perhaps a little desperate. And maybe that’s just who Marion Hammer is these days.Most of the world knows her as the take-no-prisoners maven of the National Rifle Association who directs Florida politicians...
Published: 04/21/18
Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Allegiant Air’s safety record remains troubling, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s reluctance to talk about it is no more encouraging. Those are the key takeaways from a 60 Minutes report on the low-cost carrier’s high rate of mid-flight brea...
Published: 04/21/18