European Union slams United States move on Cuba, pledges "all appropriate measures"

Carnival Cruise Line is sued over properties seized by Cuban government decades ago

Carnival sued in US over seized property in Cuba, in a first

Mickael Behn, left, and Javier Garcia-Bengochea discuss their lawsuits against Carnival Cruise Line on Thursday in Miami.

Specifically, Washington made a decision to lift its suspension of Title III, under which USA citizens of Cuban descent can sue foreign firms and individuals using property confiscated from them by the Cuban government after the country's 1959 revolution. Although the Trump administration has systematically rolled back the Obama openings, among other moves restricting US citizen travel and remittances by Cuban Americans to relatives on the island, its efforts to cripple the Cuban economy have intensified along with accusations that Cuba is the main prop holding up the Venezuelan government of Nicolás Maduro.

The possibility that U.S. courts are literally flooded with economic "claims" and the possible affectations to fundamentally European companies, although also from other countries, has triggered alarms in the EU, not only because of the magnitude of the ambiguous legal concept of "traffic" but also by the pretension of the North American Administration to extraterritorially apply its legislation to third parties.

The Cuban government all but scoffed at the Helms-Burton lawsuits. It allows United States nationals and naturalized Cubans to seek compensation from foreign firms for the use of their properties appropriated by Cuba's communist government. "They knew very well the ownership".

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"The cruise lines have been using Havana Docks port infrastructure for several years without effect to them", an emotional Mickael Behn, the president of Havana Docks, told members of the media after filing the suit.

"They just hoped my family would die and fade away". Both men are descendants of the original owners. "I began this crusade for the full implementation of Title III nearly 10 years ago", he said.

Carnival did not immediately reply to a CNN request for comment.

"Everybody has been on notice since 1996 that if they use stolen property, one day when the right of action was lifted, as it has been as of today, they could have to go to U.S. court and defend themselves", said Lawyer and former U.S. Attorney for Southern District of Florida Roberto Martinez.

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According to Cuban government figures, its economy needs about 2,5 billion dollars a year in foreign investment, during the next 10 years, to carry out the economic restructuring plan under way in the Caribbean country, although in the last four years the approximate amount of foreign investments has not exceeded 900 million annually.

USA airlines that fly to Cuba could be next. Who has acted with such property, is to get a US visa. To this must be added the possible effects on tourism, the main economic driver of the Cuban economy, and the foreseeable reduction of the flow of dollars from the United States, which largely feed the new economy of private and autonomous workers.

Carnival has operated cruises to Cuba since 2016, when the Obama administration sought to normalize relations.

The lawsuits allege that the Miami-based cruise company has been using ports that belonged to their family or family's company without compensation.

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A Carnival spokesman, Roger Frizzell, said the line's schedule of cruises to Cuba remains unchanged.

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